Manitoba

Jets apologize for obstructed views at MTS Centre, vow to fix

The Winnipeg Jets are apologizing for the poor sightlines some fans are experiencing at the MTS Centre, and promising to make changes as soon as possible.
Many Winnipeg Jets fans found their view of the ice at MTS Centre obstructed by new renovations when they went to take in preseason games last month. Season-ticketholder Ron Wersch provided this view from his upper deck seat on Sept. 22. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The Winnipeg Jets are apologizing for the poor sightlines some fans are experiencing at the MTS Centre, and promising to make changes as soon as possible.

During the summer, True North Sports & Entertainment, which owns the arena and the Jets, installed 278 new premium loge seats, as well as glass in the front row of the 300 level seats. The latter was intended to create improved sightlines by replacing a mesh railing.

But when many fans took in the Jets pre-season games last month, they found the so-called improvements actually made things worse. About 200 fans found their views affected by the metal framing around the glass, or by new staircases leading to the loge seats, or by the fans themselves in the loge seats.

The complaints were quick to spread on social media and picked up by mainstream media.

On Friday, True North issued a statement, saying it is working to fix the problem.

The elimination of certain steel and glass has already started and many seats are being raised. As well, a number of other solutions are being studied, according to True North.

"Each of these options requires time for design, study, understanding, scrutiny, pricing and scheduling," True North stated. "However, we wanted affected patrons to be aware and know that True North ownership, management and staff understand and own the issue, and are committed to making it right in the coming months."


Statement from TNSE

After several years of planning, a number of significant building improvements were completed during the summer of 2015, as part of a multi-year plan to improve the fan experience at the MTS Centre. As building projects are considered, extensive design, budget and scheduling work is completed over an extended period of time. To date, the building improvements have been well received. This summer, however, the construction of the premium loge seating has created some real and legitimate concerns for some Winnipeg Jets patrons.

In the months leading up to construction, an extensive study occurred and mockups were built by a team of architects, engineers and constructors. A key concern during this study was ensuring that the front of the loge structure would not impair the sight lines of our 300-level patrons. While this concern was addressed, there was an under-appreciation for amount of steel and glass required for safety railings and loge access. This issue was first observed as the project neared completion and railings were installed, however, the extent of the concern was not fully understood until ice and rink boards were installed just prior to the start of the pre-season on September 22, 2015. 

True North acknowledges that sightlines have been negatively impacted and affects the view of those patrons seated near the loge entrance/access points at the 300-level. To address this issue, True North management and the design team have been working to address and resolve these concerns. 

The plan moving forward is as follows:

  1. All 6,500 fixed upper bowls seats will be raised 2 ½" from the existing seat platform height of 15 ½" to 18" – improving the sightlines of all 300-level patrons. This project commenced on October 14, 2015 and is expected to be completed by November 30, 2015.
  2. As an interim measure, an extensive review of access and railing systems (steel and glass) has, and is occurring, and unnecessary elements are being removed. The elimination of certain steel and glass has begun, and is expected to conclude by November 15, 2015 and will be subject to approvals from our engineering team (including adhering to Building Code standards) and satisfying the overriding concern for the safety of our patrons. 
  3. To address and resolve the sight obstruction for those specific Season Seat Holders situated near the loge entrance/access points at the 300-level, please be aware that in addition to the aforementioned remedies, a number of broader construction and programing solutions are being studied in detail. Each of these options requires time for design, study, understanding, scrutiny, pricing and scheduling. 

As a result, we are not in a position yet to definitively state the holistic solution. However, we wanted affected patrons to be aware and know that True North ownership, management and staff understand and own the issue, and are committed to making it right in the coming months. Restated, we want to fix the problem correctly for the long-term benefit of all 300-level patrons, and therefore we are taking the time to go through the necessary process of exploring all potential solutions comprehensively.

In summary, True North accepts responsibility for the unforeseen problems created by the construction of the MTS Centre loge seating. Significant time, effort and resources are being expended to resolve the issue, and we respectfully ask for continued patience as the action plans develop and occur. We will keep our affected 300 level patrons informed of our progress, including final approvals and construction timelines.

Yours truly,

Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club and True North Sports & Entertainment Limited

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