As the Winnipeg Jets get ready to hit the ice for round two of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the city has once again enlarged the footprint for the Whiteout Street Party.
As in round one, the party zone will be open to the public for all home games of the NHL playoff series.
And organizers expect the crowds to grow, as they did at each of the previous events.
Viewing parties will be held at Bell MTS Place for games one and two of the Jets vs. Predators series. Those games will take place Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m. Tickets for the chance to enjoy the game on the Jumbotron went on sale at 1 p.m. Thursday — as of 3 p.m. there were still hundreds available for purchase. Proceeds from the $10 cover charge goes to support the True North Foundation.
The Whiteout Street Party during games three and four will feature an expanded controlled area, extending eastward on Graham Avenue up to Garry Street, and now includes a section of Smith Street between Graham Avenue and Portage Avenue.
The expanded fan zone is capable of holding up to 20,000 people and there’s no plan to cap the number of Jets fans cheering on the home team.
“We’re not at a point where we are discussing capping it yet,” Dayna Spiring of Economic Development Winnipeg said. “We’re going game by game as we did in the first round, we’ve got plans to meet after every game to see how we did.”
The round two party zone will also include a new massive screen 36′ wide and 22′ tall, as well as other amenities and vendors.
“In round one we saw the city come out in an unprecedented wave of support for their city,” Spiring said.
“The Winnipeg Whiteout Street Party has put our city on the map. People from across North America were amazed by the energy of our hockey fans, as well as our fierce Winnipeg pride.”
Winnipeg Whiteout Street Parties will take place Tuesday, May 1 at 5 p.m. (game time 6 p.m) and Thursday, May 3 when gates will open at 7 p.m. (game time 8:30 p.m.). Plans for games five and beyond will be announced as the series progresses.
“This is a very exciting time for our city and True North,” Kevin Donnelly of True North Sports + Entertainment said.
“We’ve received positive feedback about the street parties from teams across North America and we’re committed to working with our partners to make each street party a safe and exciting place for hockey fans to share the Winnipeg Jets’ playoffs experience together.”
An estimated 35,000 people attended the street parties during the first series. The three street parties cost $394,000, True North Sports + Entertainment paid a total of $226,000, Economic Development paid $28,000, while the city picked up $140,000 of the bill.
“Winnipeg Police Service and Winnipeg Transit have some pretty significant budgets we are asking them of course to work within what they’ve got,” Michael Jack, the city’s Chief Corporate Services Officer said. “They will of course have to reallocate,move resources around, shift priorities if necessary but we’re asking them to stay within their budgets.”
Economic Development Winnipeg said the impact from the media coverage of the Whiteout Street Parties is around $950,000 but exact figures won’t be known till after the playoffs.
“This is an extremely exciting time for our city,” Mayor Brian Bowman said.
“I want to recognize the tremendous amount of time invested by city staff across many departments to ensure we delivered an event that was safe and accessible. All of their work has enabled us to showcase to the world a city and team that are second to none!”