For whom the Bell MTS Place tolls: Winnipeg's arena needs a nickname

"Bell MTS Place" does not exactly roll off the tongue easily. Say it several times quickly and it sounds like some sort of enzyme. Clearly, Winnipeg's arena needs a nickname.

The home of the Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose deserves a moniker that's easier to say

An artist's conception of the new signage on the arena known as Bell MTS Place. Note the absence of the Rogers logo on the 17-storey NewPort Centre to the right. (True North Sports and Entertainment handout)

When Bell announced a $3.6-billion deal to swallow up MTS, it was only a matter of time before Winnipeg's downtown hockey arena received a new name.

On Tuesday, in a move that surprised next to nobody in the corporate-sponsorship world, True North Sports & Entertainment announced the MTS Centre is becoming Bell MTS Place.

It was an entirely logical move that reflects both the changing corporate structure of the telecommunications company formerly known as MTS and the fact there already is a Bell Centre in an obscure Quebec community called Montreal.

The name Bell MTS Place, however, does not exactly roll off the tongue easily. Say it several times quickly and it sounds like some sort of enzyme. Feel free to stump a chemistry student by asking what reaction you could catalyze with the help of bellemtease.

Clearly, the arena needs a nickname. Ideally, this moniker would be easy enough for fans to pronounce after a couple of beers.

After careless consideration and very little thought, here are the top contenders:

1. The Phone Booth

This one's an oldie, but a goodie. When the MTS Centre opened in 2004, the arena's small footprint and somewhat cramped concourses made The Phone Booth an obvious nickname. The telecom nature of MTS only made it more fitting.

Anecdotally, officials at True North weren't crazy about the nickname. But after the NHL returned to Winnipeg, the small size of the arena has become a point of pride, as the home of the Winnipeg Jets is always full and is often as loud as any venue in the league.

The unwieldy, five syllables of "Bell MTS Place" ought to bring The Phone Booth back into vogue, whether or not True North is on board.

2. Definitely Not The Rogers Centre

When True North announced the name change on Tuesday, it issued an artist's conception of the new signage at Bell MTS Place. As pointed out, that image digitally scrubbed the Rogers logo off the NewPort Centre, the 17-storey building to the west of the arena.

MTS Centre as it appeared in 2016, minus the digital alteration of the NewPort Centre's east and north-facing facades. (Jaison Empson/CBC)
The rival telco ought to be amused. ​

3. The Chip Truck

If telecommunications doesn't excite you, you can always honour the family responsible for bringing the NHL back to Winnipeg.

The Chip Truck references True North chairman Mark Chipman, the automobile businesses his family founded and a beloved landmark in Kenora on Lake of the Woods, where no fewer than three Chipmans have family cottages.

If calling a hockey arena a truck sounds silly, remember many fans already shout "True North" during the national anthem. This is only slightly odder.

4. Laineville

Since Riderville is a place few Winnipeg sports fans can stand, it's time to reclaim the cadence of this name for the sake of all that is good and holy and not connected to Saskatchewan in any manner.

Barring a contract holdup in a couple of years, Patrik Laine ought to be around in Winnipeg with the Jets for many years to come. The Finnish scoring phenom is just quirky enough to belong in Winnipeg, so we may as well name a building after him.

5. Covfefe

Clearly, Donald J. Trump was trying to spell "Scheifele" on Tuesday night when he tapped out what has become the most unintelligible tweet of his presidency.

It's not like it's easy to spell Scheifele, as even the Winnipeg Jets have discovered on occasion.

Winnipeg ought to act before cofveve hysteria resides.

6. The Burton Cummings Theatre for the Performing Arts

True North already owns the theatre. They may as well use the name twice.

It's all but certain Burton would approve.


Bartley Kives

Senior reporter, CBC Manitoba

Bartley Kives joined CBC Manitoba in 2016. Prior to that, he spent three years at the Winnipeg Sun and 18 at the Winnipeg Free Press, writing about politics, music, food and outdoor recreation. He's the author of the Canadian bestseller A Daytripper's Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada's Undiscovered Province and co-author of both Stuck in the Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg and Stuck In The Middle 2: Defining Views of Manitoba.