With no fans in the stands, Winnipeg Jets' 'sweetener' adds crowd noises to games

There are no fans in the stands and yet Winnipeg Jets games still sound like there’s a roaring crowd cheering on the home team — thanks to the team's "sweetener," who adds crowd noises to the games.

Priya Plested says she wants to give fans as normal an experience as possible during the pandemic

Priya Plested adds sound effects to Winnipeg Jets games while fans aren't in the stands. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

There are no fans in the stands due to the pandemic, and yet Winnipeg Jets games still sound like there's a roaring crowd cheering on the home team.

That's thanks to Priya Plested, who adds crowd noise to Jets games as the co-ordinator of game presentation for the team, or what's more commonly known as the "sweetener."

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she's the only person allowed to hype up the teams. 

It's her job to add the cheers and jeers to the game for both the viewers at home and the players on the ice using a whopping 58 sound effects. 

"It's really important for us to create the best show possible for our fans at home and also for our players," she told Information Radio host Marcy Markusa. 

The players usually have fans "hyping them up," she said. 

"And there are no fans this season, unfortunately, so I'm just trying to do my best to kind of simulate a real game for them."

In addition to the generic crowd noises, Plested has the "Go Jets Go" chant and the iconic "True North" fans always shout during the national anthem. 

Plested likes the "True North" shout because it makes the games feel more normal, she said.

Plested, who had her job with the Jets before the pandemic started, trained herself to do the sound effects by watching games on mute and trying to mimic the crowd noises she'd otherwise hear. 

The 58 sound effects don't have labels — they're colour coded — so she's memorized them. 

"I'm a fan first and generally, if I'm watching the game, I'll be like, you know, cheering, like, hooting, hollering," she said. 

"And I just kind of went with that — like, what noises would I generally make during games? Like, would I go 'Ooh,' or like, would I just scream my head off? I kind of play it like that."

The best part of the gig? Plested is one of the only fans who still gets to watch the games in person.

With files from Jessica Piche