There's a 100 per cent chance of a Whiteout in the forecast.
Although the Winnipeg Jets don't know just yet who they'll be playing or whether they will start at home at Bell MTS Place, they've clinched a spot in the National Hockey League playoffs, which begin next week.
And that means a repeat of the Whiteout street parties that drew tens of thousands of Winnipeggers downtown to be a part of the excitement as the Jets went deep in the post-season last spring.
But unlike last year's free-of-charge celebrations, tickets will cost $5 this time around.
True North Sports and Entertainment’s senior vice-president of venues and entertainment Kevin Donnelly said all proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to charities — through United Way Winnipeg — working to address addiction, homelessness and mental-health issues in the city.
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Organizers fine-tuned party planning as the crowds grew with each Jets victory last year, and while admission was free, tickets had to be obtained via Ticketmaster.
Fans snapped up tickets — originally limited to eight, then four — but many went unused and some turned up on Kijiji by scalpers looking to make a buck by selling tickets they didn't pay for.
"We think the $5 encourages people to use what they commit to use and it discourages people from speculating on whether they can come or not come.... We want to have 15,000 people take 15,000 tickets and then show up," Donnelly said.
"People in Winnipeg won’t waste $5."
Tickets for the first street party will go on sale next Monday, when the NHL playoff schedule is expected to be released. Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster and can also be purchased at the Bell MTS Place box office.
The events are being organized by Economic Development Winnipeg and True North, with support from the City of Winnipeg, Province of Manitoba and Downtown Winnipeg BIZ.
The exact financial contributions from each have yet to be set, said EDW president and CEO Dayna Spiring. The festivities cost a total of $2.2 million last year as the Jets got through two rounds of playoffs before coming to a heartbreaking end in the third.
"We’re still working through all those (financial) details. We are asking all of the governments to come forward. This is a great opportunity to showcase our city to the world," Spiring said.
"We’ve all had a longer time this year to get our act together than we did last year."
There will be 15,000 Game 1 party tickets for sale, but the number could increase, depending on the Jets' fortunes. Anyone with a ticket to a Jets home playoff game will get free entrance.
An alcohol-free family zone will once again be held at Millennium Library Park with room for up to 4,000 fans.
Winnipeg Police Service Supt. Gord Perrier, the deputy chief of operations, said security plans for the parties have been months in the making.
"Those practices that we put in place last year will be repeated this year, but there will be some practices behind the scenes that people won’t see that we’ve improved upon and will help us in an operational sense," Perrier said.
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