Canada Life Centre Info
- Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Address: 300 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 5S4
- Capacity: 15,004 (hockey)
- Year Opened: 2004
- Former Names: True North Centre, Bell MTS Place
- Occupants: Winnipeg Jets
- Parking: Parking is available for purchase
The Winnipeg Jets left behind a legion of heartbroken fans when the team relocated to Phoenix in 1996, and it seemed like professional hockey would never return to Manitoba. However, on May 31, 2011, the NHL announced that the Atlanta Thrashers would be relocating to the hockey-starved city and 13,000 season tickets were sold in the three days following the announcement. The Thrashers had only made the playoffs once in their 12-year history, but that didn't matter to Winnipeg fans - they finally had their team back and Canada had yet another hockey franchise to challenge the teams in the United States.
The 2011-12 season is the Jets' first season in Winnipeg and the team will be playing its games in the MTS Centre in the heart of downtown Winnipeg. The MTS Centre is small by NHL standards with just over 15,000 seats, but that only helps to amplify the deafening sounds of the Jets' faithful as they cheer their team on. The Jets are lucky to play in such a cutting-edge facility like the MTS Centre, which was built in 2004 and greets attendees with a large glass atrium that leads up to the main concourses. The arena sits on Portage Avenue, which is the main drag in Winnipeg that features plenty of bars and restaurants for event attendees to enjoy.
The original incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets played in the NHL and the now-defunct World Hockey Association. The Jets had far more luck in the WHA, winning titles in 1976, 1978 and 1979. When the Jets moved to the NHL in 1979, the team would make a series of playoff appearances but would never break through to the Stanley Cup Finals. After a period of subpar years in Atlanta, the new instalment of the Jets franchise seems to be energized by its move to Winnipeg. With talented youngsters like Matt Kane and Alex Burmistrov joining veterans Dustin Byfuglien and Nik Antropov, the Jets have a solid core of talent to make a run at the playoffs.
Along with being home to the beloved Jets, the MTS Centre is a hot spot for concerts and other live events. In its short history, the arena has hosted blockbuster tours like John Mayer's Battle Studies tour, Green Day's American Idiot tour, The White Stripes' Icky Thump tour and many more.
The Canada Life Centre is evidence of the unprecedented growth that Winnipeg has experienced in recent years, and it has slowly become the preferred sports and entertainment venue in Manitoba.