A lone NBCSN telecast in the first year back in the NHL. A handful of games each year on the NHL Network. 4 playoff games 2 years ago, 2 of them in Winnipeg.
The Winnipeg Jets haven't made much of an impression south of the U.S. border since the Manitoba capital got the NHL back. The 2016 Heritage Classic on Sunday between the Edmonton Oilers and the Winnipeg Jets will give Winnipeg and the Jets some much needed publicity.
The Heritage Classic weekend includes an alumni game on Saturday at 4 pm Eastern/3 pm in Winnipeg and the featured game on Sunday at 3 pm Eastern/2 pm in Winnipeg.
Rogers Sportsnet 360 has the alumni game while Rogers Sportsnet has the main game: both events are simulcast on the NHL Network in the United States.
A hockey-themed, family-friendly fan festival will happen before each game. Bands will spotlight the festival: Winnipeg cover band Almost Famous on Saturday and Sum 41 on Sunday.
For the alumni contest, Canadian music legend Tom Cochrane will warm up the crowd. Original Winnipeg Jets anthem singer Jennifer Hanson will perform the anthem.
Brett Kissel and Doc Walker will handle O Canada for the main event. The Strumbellas will perform during the first intermission. Winnipeg Jets hockey will be the focus for the second intermission.
The games will be at Investors Group Field, the home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The stadium is more famous in the U.S. for the 2015 Women's World Cup when the U.S. team played in that stadium.
I made my first trip to Winnipeg this summer, including a Blue Bombers game. The sightlines are really good in the stadium. The sound dynamic allows for a loud crowd, something the Winnipeg Jets are known for having indoors.
Hopefully, Rogers Sportsnet will get some really good camera angles into the coverage.
Any shot of the Winnipeg skyline will be a few kilometres away as the stadium is well south of downtown. In an overhead shot, the area outside the stadium is the University of Manitoba campus.
There are a huge variety of eating options at the stadium. The fresh vegetables may not what was available in July. You can find perogies, butter chicken and naan, as well as shawarmas. Bring your appetite.
If you are going to the game and don't want to drive to the stadium, you can find transit information here. I had good success with the #160 bus but there are several good options.
Winnipeg was supposed to get the Heritage Classic last season but the NHL forced a early December date shortly after the 2015 Grey Cup. The league knew that wasn't going to work but pushed for the date anyway. After all that grief, the NHL scheduled the Heritage Classic for late October. The forecast is for 8°C/47°F with a low of 2°C/36°F. The temperature hasn't gone below freezing lately. Not a very cold Heritage Classic in a city that can get really cold.
At least the forecast doesn't call for rain.
February would not have worked but December, after the Grey Cup, would have given the audience a winter wonderland. Now we'll wonder why they didn't wait until winter.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers last played at Investors Group Field on October 8, so the crew has had plenty of time to get the stadium ready for the Heritage Classic. The Blue Bombers will have the week off this week so they could come out to support the Jets in person.
The Blue Bombers will play at home on October 29 against Ottawa.
The NHL received a load of grief for requiring a couple to pay $400 for a seat at the Heritage Classic in Winnipeg for an infant who is being breastfeed. The 6-month-old child can't sit up in the seat, but the NHL says the ticket is required for safety reasons.
Common sense says a small child that literally can't sit in the seat in question shouldn't have the parents be required to pay for an empty seat. But when hundreds of dollars are at stake, common sense is overruled.
A Vancouver Canucks family had the same issue with the 2014 Heritage Classic. This policy isn't in place in regular games that are indoors, just for the outdoor games at inflated prices.
logo credit: NHL/Winnipeg Jets;
photos credit: me