Saturday, September 24, 2022

Winnipeg Jets fans rejoice at Fan Fest's return. CBC News

Fans gathered at the Bell MTS Iceplex on Saturday to join the Winnipeg Jets as they officially began the hockey season with the return of the Winnipeg Jets Fan Fest.

Returning for the first time since 2019 after a hiatus due to the pandemic, the Fan Fest offered hockey fans a glimpse of top players alongside the Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose as they prepare for the new season.

“It’s generating excitement, but it’s also bringing our fans together to promote our season at the same time,” said Corey Harnum, manager of community relations with the Winnipeg Jets.

“This is an opportunity to bring everyone into one rink,” Harnam said.

Fans were able to watch on-ice training camp sessions from the rinkside, and watch interviews with their favorite players on the program.

The Fan Fest this year also added a new experience to the event called NHL Street, giving youngsters the opportunity to participate in a full street hockey setup.

“There’s a little bit of everything for everyone,” Harnam said. “It’s been a great day.”

Harnam said the Fan Fest is also an opportunity to see new players on the ice for the first time since the changes were made during the off-season.

Tickets for the event were free, and 3,000 to 4,000 were booked before Saturday, Harnam said.

Christina Litz, chief brand and commercial officer at True North Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Jets, says free tickets to the event remove barriers and allow all fans to enjoy the event.

“I think we are all dealing with rising costs right now,” she told Radio-Canada in an interview on Saturday.

“It’s hard to afford the privilege of being in a Jets game, so we’re trying to take it easy where we can.”

A group of people sit in a stand to watch a game of hockey.  Some are wearing Winnipeg Jets jerseys.
The Fan Fest offered hockey fans a glimpse of top players, along with the Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose, as they prepare for the new season. (Anne-Charlotte Carrigan/Radio-Canada)

The Jets also unveiled their new Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Center retail jersey at the event. Jerseys will be made available for sale to fans to help support wassack A non-profit organization that works to make sports more accessible and inclusive for Indigenous children and youth.

Eden Lapp, 10, was in the stands of Fan Fest on Saturday. He said that he likes to watch hockey players and watch their training practice.

“It’s really fun. I love watching Jets,” he said.

Reina Lito also attended the event along with her family. They said they came for autographs and bouncy castles, but mainly to see the Jets in action.

“I’m excited for the new season to come, and I hope we go all the way this time,” Lito said.

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