MTS Centre
The MTS Centre is an indoor arena at 300 Portage Avenue in Downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, at the former Eaton's site. It is owned by True North Sports & Entertainment Limited, at a cost of $133.5 million CAD, and is 440,000 square feet (41,000 m 2) in size. It opened on November 16, 2004, replacing the since-demolished Winnipeg Arena. It can seat 15,015 spectators for ice hockey and up to 16,345 spectators for concerts. It was formerly known as the True North Centre during planning and construction before Manitoba Telecom Services bought the naming rights. The MTS Centre is home to the AHL's Manitoba Moose hockey team. This building is known for its excellent sound, which has made Winnipeg a more prominent location for concerts.

With the bankruptcy of the iconic Eaton's retailer, the famed store that was originally constructed 1905 in downtown Winnipeg was emptied in late 1999. Various alternative uses for the building (including residential condominiums) were suggested, but ultimately the arena was deemed to be the most viable and beneficial to the city's struggling downtown by Winnipeg Mayor Glen Murray and the True North Group. After a small, but emotional resistance to losing the Western Canadian landmark Eaton's building by some locals and the Save the Eaton's Coalition, which inspired a "group hug" of the "Big Store" by a reported 180 people in 2001, the store was demolished in 2002 to make way for the new entertainment complex. The building was officially opened November 16th, 2004. In an effort to recognize the store's history, red bricks were incorporated into the design of the arena façade, evoking the memory of the Eaton’s store that had once graced Portage Avenue. An original store window and Tyndall stone surround is mounted in the arena concourse to house a collection of Eaton's memorabilia, in addition two war memorials were incorporated into the building. The Timothy Eaton statue that was once a main feature of the store is also housed in the MTS Centre.

Events hosted
  • 2005 Juno Awards
  • 2006 AHL All Star Classic
  • 2007 IIHF World Women's Championship
  • 2007 Game 5 of the Canada Russia Junior Super Series
  • 2008 Tim Hortons Brier
  • 2008 Canadian Country Music Awards
  • 2008 Filming of Wowowee
  • 2009 BDO Classic Canadian Open
  • 2009 World Deaf Ice Hockey Championship
  • 2009 Canadian National Ball Hockey Championship
  • 2009 Aboriginal Peoples Choice Awards
  • 2010 BDO Classic Canadian Open
  • 2011 World U-17 Hockey Challenge

In October 2006, the MTS Centre improved its washroom facilities to eliminate long lines and it installed 340 "demountable" seats in the lower bowl to replace 352 narrower "retractable" chairs, in a renovation priced at more than $120,000. A "peanut-restricted" zone for allergic spectators was also added. Bon Jovi played the MTS Centre December 9, 2007 and was the largest event the centre has seen since its 2004 debut. 16,000+ fans enjoyed the New Jersey rock band and Jon Bon Jovi stated "We'll be back" during his performance. However, the Metallica concert on October 12, 2009 broke this record with Metallica selling more because of general admission on the floor. The MTS Centre also hosted on September 17, 2006, an NHL pre-season game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Phoenix Coyotes in front of a sold-out crowd of 15,015 with the Oilers winning 5-0. Later the arena hosted another NHL exhibition game with the former Winnipeg franchise, the Phoenix Coyotes, playing host to the Calgary Flames on September 24, 2008. Calgary defeated Phoenix 3-2, in front of 12,621 fans (84% capacity). On September 24, 2009, the MTS Centre welcomed the Edmonton Oilers and Tampa Bay Lightning to face off the year's NHL exhibition game. The Lightning won in overtime over the Oilers 4-3 . On September 22, 2010, the MTS Centre welcomed the 2010 Stanley Cup Champions Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning for the second straight year for an exhibition game in front of a crowd of 14,092 (94% capacity). The Lightning won the game 4-2. On October 29, 2005, Mike Scott was the 1,000,000th customer through the door and received a pair of tickets to every event in 2006. In 2008, the MTS Centre sold 385,427 tickets. These ticket sales included only non-sporting events and did not include hockey games. With the tickets sales the MTS Centre placed as the 19th busiest arena in the world. The arena sat as 11th busiest among facilities in North America, its highest ranking ever, and it remained in the 3rd spot in Canada, after the Bell Centre in Montreal (sixth worldwide) and the Air Canada Centre in Toronto (fifth worldwide). For the year of 2009 it ranked as the 39th busiest arena in the world, and 26th busiest in North America.

Future NHL tenant?
From 1972 to 1996, the Winnipeg Jets played home games out of the now-demolished Winnipeg Arena. Facing mounting financial troubles, the franchise relocated to Arizona and became the Phoenix Coyotes for the 1996-97 NHL season. In the interim, the idea of Winnipeg one day returning to the NHL has gained momentum. In response to this, many questions have arisen about the MTS Centre's potential suitability to host an NHL team. At its current hockey capacity of 15,003, it would be the smallest home arena in the NHL, well below the current smallest"the New York Islanders' Nassau Coliseum--which seats 16,234. A potential ownership group has emerged, and a number of journalists have identified David Thomson and True North chairman Mark Chipman as its principals. Chipman has stated that the arena's current size is sufficient for an NHL team due to its unique economics. Further supporting the viability of the arena is the reported attendance figures of many struggling teams average below the MTS Centre's capacity. 8 teams or over 26% of the league had lower attendance than the MTS Centre's capacity through the 2010-11 NHL season. In March 2010, a number of news outlets reported an agreement in principle had been reached between the NHL and the Winnipeg group to move the Phoenix Coyotes back to Winnipeg as early as the 2011-2012 season if plans to keep the team in Arizona were to fall through. Plans to expand the arena's capacity were also reported, and True North is currently expanding the arena's press box However, all suggestions of any deals being in place were categorically denied by Mr. Chipman and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. On October 16th, 2010, Scott Burnside of reported that an ownership deal to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix appears to be in place, effectively ending any chance of the franchise coming back to Winnipeg. As of October 2010, there are no talks or deals in place to bring a franchise back to Winnipeg. However, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has continued to allude to the possibility of the NHL returning to Winnipeg with an expansion franchise, and there is optimism that this may occur at some point in the future.

Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum

See Also
  • Manitoba Moose
  • MTS Iceplex

Building Activity

  • removed 2 media
    about 6 years ago via