MTS Iceplex to undergo $7.5M expansion to make room for Jets and Moose
2-storey addition means Winnipeg Jets' AHL affiliate will stay in the city
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.
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.
- Winnipeg hockey fans await return of AHL franchise with open arms
- Manitoba Moose to play first home game Oct. 15
- Winnipeg Jets start new NHL season against Bruins in Boston
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.
"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.