Manitoba

MTS Iceplex to undergo $7.5M expansion to make room for Jets and Moose

The Winnipeg Jets' practice space, the MTS Iceplex, is being expanded to make room for the Manitoba Moose as the AHL team returns to the city this fall.

2-storey addition means Winnipeg Jets' AHL affiliate will stay in the city

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff on plans to expand the MTS Iceplex to accommodate both the Jets and Manitoba Moose 2:03

The Winnipeg Jets' practice space, the MTS Iceplex, is being expanded to make room for the Manitoba Moose as the Jets' American Hockey League affiliate returns to the city this fall.

True North Sports and Entertainment announced Monday that it will spend $7.5 million to build a 21,000-square-foot or 1,950-square-metre, two-storey addition on the east end of the Iceplex starting next month.
A floor plan showing what the expansion of the MTS Iceplex will look like. True North officials say construction is expected to be completed in time for the 2016-17 hockey season. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

The expansion will include new dressing rooms, training and therapy facilities for both teams at the rink, located on the outskirts of the city near Headingley.

Officials with True North, which owns the city's NHL and AHL franchises, say the expansion is driven in part by the return of the Moose to Winnipeg.

The AHL team was originally based in the city but relocated to St. John's, N.L., in 2011 when the NHL returned to Winnipeg. The Moose became the Jets' farm team and was renamed the St. John's IceCaps.

The Manitoba Moose will start the season in Toronto on Oct. 9 and play the first home game on Oct. 15.

The Winnipeg Jets' season will start against the Bruins in Boston on Oct. 8. The NHL team's home opener will be on Oct. 16 against the Calgary Flames.

The Jets announced in March that the IceCaps would be moving back to Winnipeg. The team's original name, the Manitoba Moose, was reintroduced in May.

Moose are here to stay: Cheveldayoff

Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said expanding the Iceplex means the Moose will stay in Winnipeg for the long term.

"I think when we first, you know, visualized them coming here everyone was asked, 'Well, how long is it going to be here?' I think with the investment that is being made here today, I think those questions are answered," he said.

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff speaks to reporters on Monday about plans to expand the MTS Iceplex. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)
True North owner Mark Chipman said having two professional hockey teams in Winnipeg was not something his company had planned.

"Yeah, it's kind of bizarre in some ways. You know, I still wake scratching my head over how that happened," Chipman said at Monday's announcement.

"We didn't do it with the plan of having both teams here, but as we explored it and thought about it, kicked it around … there was an appetite for it here."

The 48-week construction project is expected to be done in time for the start of the 2016-17 hockey season.

The work is being funded "exclusively with ownership investment," True North said in a news release.

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