Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets fans to get licences quicker

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GETTING your Winnipeg Jets licence plate will be a little quicker this time around.

Manitoba Public Insurance has revamped the process for Jets fans to support their favourite team when 5,000 plates officially go on sale next Friday.

MPI will distribute them to more than 300 Autopac brokers from a central hub as customer orders come in. When 27,000 plates were released in two separate runs last year, they were sent out to brokers in advance.

There were multiple cases of customers in Winnipeg placing orders at brokers that had sold out. Rural brokers that still had some stock were asked to relinquish what they hadn't moved. In the end, urban customers usually got what they wanted, but it dragged out.

"From start to finish, the customer should get the plate in one to three business days," said MPI spokesman Brian Smiley.

The new licence plates, which were announced last week, will cost $70, with $30 earmarked for the Winnipeg Jets True North Foundation.

Last year, the plates raised more than $800,000 for the foundation. In June, it announced it was giving $1 million to 43 charities, most of which focus on Winnipeg's underprivileged children.

Through specialty licence plates, Manitobans can now show their support for the Jets, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Winnipeg Goldeyes as well as the Manitoba Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial and the Manitoba Firefighters Burn Fund.

There's an excellent chance there will be more. Smiley said MPI has posted a formal process on its website for other groups if they want to have a specialty plate. The process includes a business plan to ensure a minimum number of plates can be sold. "This is a revenue-neutral business proposition," he said.

Smiley said he expects strong demand again for the latest round of Jets plates, particularly since the team requested them. "Manitoba's Jets fans have proven to be very loyal and passionate about their team. I'd be surprised if there wasn't a big response to these plates."

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 12, 2013 A4

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Updated on Friday, April 12, 2013 at 7:12 AM CDT: fixes headline

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