Winnipeg Ice to play WHL championship home games at Canada Life Centre
With Jets, Moose out of playoffs, high-flying junior team moves into larger venue
Even though the Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose are out of the playoffs, there's still some hockey to be played at Canada Life Centre this spring.
The Winnipeg Ice will play home games at the downtown Winnipeg arena in the upcoming Western Hockey League championship against the Seattle Thunderbirds, the junior hockey club announced Monday.
"We would like to thank True North Sports and Entertainment for making Canada Life Centre available to host the WHL Championship," Ice president and general manager Matt Cockell said in a statement.
Game 1 of the final series will take place May 12 at 7 p.m., with Game 2 slated for May 13 at 6 p.m.
LISTEN | The Winnipeg Ice are heading into the WHL playoffs on a high note:
The Ice regularly play at the 1,400-seat Wayne Fleming Arena at the University of Manitoba. Existing Ice WHL final ticket holders will be contacted by the club with information about accessing seats of the same value at Canada Life Centre, the Ice said in a statement.
Winnipeg finished the 2022-23 season with an eye-popping record of 57 wins, 10 losses and one overtime loss.
Seattle finished first in the WHL's U.S. division with a 54-11-1-2 record, four points back of Winnipeg.
The Ice are 12-2 so far during the 2023 post-season. Winnipeg swept the Medicine Hat Tigers in the opening round of the playoffs, defeated the Moose Jaw Warriors four games to two in the second round and swept the Saskatoon Blades in the third round.
The Thunderbirds won their first 10 games of the playoffs, sweeping the Kelowna Rockets and Prince George Cougars. Seattle then defeated the Kamloops Blazers in six games, claiming the western conference championship series Monday night.
Seattle's roster includes 10 NHL-drafted players, including Winnipeg Jets first round draft pick Brad Lambert, who was selected 30th overall in the 2022 draft.
Seven Ice players have been drafted by NHL teams, while 17-year-old forward Zach Benson is expected to be one of the first 10 players drafted in the upcoming 2023 draft.
The winner of the WHL championship will play in the Memorial Cup, a four-team national junior hockey tournament that will take place in Kamloops this year.
The Brandon Wheat Kings, back in 2016, were the last Manitoba team to play in the Memorial Cup. Brandon had appeared in the Cup six times since 1949 but has never won the tournament.
The last Winnipeg team to play for the Memorial Cup was the defunct Winnipeg Braves, who won in 1959.
2023 WHL championship series:
- Game 1: May 12 at Winnipeg (Canada Life Centre – 7 p.m. CT).
- Game 2: May 13 at Winnipeg (Canada Life Centre – 6 p.m. CT).
- Game 3: May 16 at Seattle (Accesso ShoWare Center – 7:05 p.m. PT).
- Game 4: May 17 at Seattle (Accesso ShoWare Center – 7:05 p.m. PT).
- Game 5: May 19 at Seattle (Accesso ShoWare Center – 7:05 p.m. PT).
- Game 6: May 21 at Winnipeg (Canada Life Centre – time TBD).
- Game 7: May 22 at Winnipeg (Canada Life Centre – time TBD).