December 8, 2019

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Whiteouts return

Organizers add $5 admission fee to ensure tickets are used; money going to United Way charities

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.

There will be 15,000 tickets available for each street party this year at $5 each. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)</p>

There will be 15,000 tickets available for each street party this year at $5 each. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)

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.

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.

Danielle (left) and Lacey Lavallee cheer the Jets on during last year's whiteout party on Donald Street. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Danielle (left) and Lacey Lavallee cheer the Jets on during last year's whiteout party on Donald Street. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)

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.

Ticket-holding fans pause to take snapshots of Jets fans packing Donald Street as the Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild face off April 13, 2018.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Ticket-holding fans pause to take snapshots of Jets fans packing Donald Street as the Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild face off April 13, 2018.

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.

"The security will look and feel similar to processes people saw out last year."

The parties will once again feature, among other amenities, multiple video screens, food trucks and drink vendors. The events will begin two hours before puck drop for every Jets home playoff game.

True North also announced it will again host Bell MTS viewing parties for the away games during the playoffs. Admission is $10, with proceeds going to the True North Youth Foundation.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS<br>Brandon Klimenko (with friend Jeff Pinchin — both wearing white hats) hoists a fake Stanley Cup on Donald Street at Graham Avenue during the Whiteout street party before the start of Game 1 of the Western Conference final between the Winnipeg Jets and the Las Vegas Golden Knights in Winnipeg, Saturday, May 12, 2018. Klimenko hopes the Jets will win the real one.<br>Jets fans decked out for Game 1 of Western Conference final
RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Brandon Klimenko (with friend Jeff Pinchin — both wearing white hats) hoists a fake Stanley Cup on Donald Street at Graham Avenue during the Whiteout street party before the start of Game 1 of the Western Conference final between the Winnipeg Jets and the Las Vegas Golden Knights in Winnipeg, Saturday, May 12, 2018. Klimenko hopes the Jets will win the real one.
RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS<br>Four fighter jets pass over Bell MTS Place as thousands of Winnipeg Jets fans scream during the start of Game 1 of the Western Conference final between Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Golden Knights in Winnipeg Saturday, May 12, 2018 during the Whiteout street party.<br>
RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Four fighter jets pass over Bell MTS Place as thousands of Winnipeg Jets fans scream during the start of Game 1 of the Western Conference final between Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Golden Knights in Winnipeg Saturday, May 12, 2018 during the Whiteout street party.
RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS<br>Thousands of Winnipeg Jets fans scream at the start of the Winnipeg Jets vs Vegas Golden Knights game outside Bell MTS Place on Donald Street during the Whiteout street party Saturday, May 12, 2018.<br>
RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Thousands of Winnipeg Jets fans scream at the start of the Winnipeg Jets vs Vegas Golden Knights game outside Bell MTS Place on Donald Street during the Whiteout street party Saturday, May 12, 2018.
JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS<br>Winnipeg fans gather prior to game one NHL Western Conference Final action between the Winnipeg Jets and the Vegas Golden Knights in Winnipeg on Saturday, May 12, 2018.<br>
JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS
Winnipeg fans gather prior to game one NHL Western Conference Final action between the Winnipeg Jets and the Vegas Golden Knights in Winnipeg on Saturday, May 12, 2018.
RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS<br>Thousands of Winnipeg Jets fans scream at the start of Game 1 of Western Conference final between the Jets and Las Vegas Golden Knights game outside Bell MTS Place druing the Whiteout street party Saturday, May 12, 2018.<br>
RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Thousands of Winnipeg Jets fans scream at the start of Game 1 of Western Conference final between the Jets and Las Vegas Golden Knights game outside Bell MTS Place druing the Whiteout street party Saturday, May 12, 2018.

ryan.thorpe@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @rk_thorpe

Ryan Thorpe

Ryan Thorpe
Reporter

Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.

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History

Updated on Monday, April 1, 2019 at 2:39 PM CDT: Updated.

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