MTS Centre

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MTS Centre
The Phone Booth
MTS Centre logo.jpg
Former names True North Centre (planning)
Location 300 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 5S4
Coordinates 49°53′34″N 97°8′37″W / 49.89278°N 97.14361°W / 49.89278; -97.14361Coordinates: 49°53′34″N 97°8′37″W / 49.89278°N 97.14361°W / 49.89278; -97.14361
Owner True North Sports & Entertainment
Operator True North Sports & Entertainment
Capacity Hockey: 15,294[1]
End-Stage Concert: 16,170[1]
Centre-Stage Concert: 16,345[1]
Rodeo/Motocross: 13,198[1]
Basketball: ≥15,750
Field size 440,000 square feet (41,000 m2)
Surface Multi-surface
Broke ground April 16, 2003[1]
Opened November 16, 2004
Construction cost CA$133.5 million
($180 million in 2015 dollars[2])
Architect Sink Combs Dethlefs
Number TEN Architectural Group
Smith Carter
Project manager Hammes Company
Structural engineer Martin & Martin/Crosier Kilgour[3]
Services engineer M*E/MCW-AGE[4]
General contractor PCL Constructors Canada Inc.[5]
Winnipeg Jets (NHL) (2011–present)
Manitoba Moose (AHL) (2004–2011, 2015-present)
Winnipeg Alliance FC (CMISL) (2007 & 2010)

The MTS Centre is an indoor sports arena and entertainment venue located at 300 Portage Avenue in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The arena is the home of the Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League and previously served as the home of the American Hockey League's Manitoba Moose (now the St. John's IceCaps) from 2004 to 2011. Beginning in the fall of 2015, it will serve as the home of Manitoba Moose again, as the Jets have announced they are relocating it to Winnipeg again and are once again taking up the Moose identity.[6][7][8]

The MTS Centre stands on the former Eaton's site and is owned and operated by True North Sports & Entertainment. The 440,000 square feet[1] (41,000 m2) building was constructed at a cost of $133.5 million CAD. It opened on November 16, 2004, replacing the since-demolished Winnipeg Arena. It has a capacity of 15,016 for hockey and 16,345 for concerts. Originally known as the True North Centre during its planning and construction stages, its naming rights are owned by Manitoba Telecom Services.



With the bankruptcy of the iconic Eaton's retailer, the famed store that was originally constructed 1899 in Winnipeg was emptied in late 2001.[9] Various alternative uses for the building (including residential condominiums) were suggested, but ultimately the arena was deemed to be the most viable and beneficial to the city's struggling downtown by Winnipeg Mayor Glen Murray and True North.[10] After a small, but emotional resistance to losing the Western Canadian landmark Eaton's building by some locals and the Save the Eaton's Coalition, which inspired a "group hug" of the "Big Store" by a reported 180 people in 2001, the store was demolished in 2002 to make way for the new entertainment complex.

The MTS Centre replaced Winnipeg's aging Winnipeg Arena, which had been in operation since 1955. The building was officially opened November 16, 2004. In an effort to recognize the store's history, red bricks were incorporated into the design of the arena façade, evoking the memory of the Eaton’s store that had once graced Portage Avenue. An original store window and Tyndall stone surround is mounted in the arena concourse to house a collection of Eaton's memorabilia, in addition two war memorials were incorporated into the building.[9] The Timothy Eaton statue that was once a main feature of the store is also housed in the MTS Centre.[11]

Events and milestones[edit]

In October 2006, the MTS Centre improved its washroom facilities to eliminate long lines and it installed 340 "demountable" seats in the lower bowl to replace 352 narrower "retractable" chairs, in a renovation priced at more than $120,000, which lowered capacity from 15,015 to 15,004. A "peanut-restricted" zone for allergic spectators was also added.

Bon Jovi played the MTS Centre December 9, 2007 and was the largest event the centre has seen since its 2004 debut. 16,000+ fans enjoyed the New Jersey rock band and Jon Bon Jovi stated "We'll be back" during his performance. However, the Metallica concert on October 12, 2009 broke this record with Metallica selling more because of general admission on the floor.

On October 29, 2005, Mike Scott was the 1,000,000th customer through the door and received a pair of tickets to every event in 2006.[12]

In 2008, the MTS Centre sold 385,427 tickets. These ticket sales included only non-sporting events and did not include hockey games. With the tickets sales the MTS Centre placed as the 19th busiest arena in the world. The arena sat as 11th busiest among facilities in North America, its highest ranking ever, and it remained in the 3rd spot in Canada, after the Bell Centre in Montreal (sixth worldwide) and the Air Canada Centre in Toronto (fifth worldwide).[13] For the year of 2009 it ranked as the 39th busiest arena in the world, and 26th busiest in North America.[14]

The American band Pearl Jam played at the arena on September 17, 2011, as part of the bands 20th anniversary celebrations.[15]

The American popstar Britney Spears performed at the arena for the first time on July 4, 2011 during her Femme Fatale Tour.

Legendary American rock band Fleetwood Mac performed at the arena on May 12, 2013, as just one stop on their 2013 world tour, Fleetwood Mac Live.

On June 15, 2013 the MTS Centre hosted UFC 161, making Winnipeg only the fifth Canadian city ever to host an event behind Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

Pink performed at MTS Centre on January 14, 2014 as part of her The Truth About Love Tour.

Justin Bieber brought his My World Tour to the arena on September 14, 2010, and later brought his Believe Tour to the arena on October 18, 2012. Both of the concerts were performed to sell-out crowds.

Pop superstar Lady Gaga performed a sold out concert at the arena on May 22, 2014 as part of her world tour, ArtRave: The Artpop Ball.

Classic rock band Queen with Adam Lambert performed a concert at the arena on June 21, 2014 as part of their worldwide tour, the only time the band has ever played Winnipeg.

On January 20, 2015, legendary artist Bryan Adams performed at the arena as a part of his Reckless 30th anniversary tour.

On September 8, 2015, Janet Jackson will perform as part of Unbreakable World Tour.


National Hockey League[edit]

From 1972 to 1996, the Winnipeg Jets played home games out of the now-demolished Winnipeg Arena. Facing mounting financial troubles, the franchise relocated to Arizona and became the Phoenix Coyotes for the 1996–97 NHL season.

In the interim, the idea of Winnipeg one day returning to the NHL gained momentum, especially after the MTS Centre, constructed mostly with private money, opened. In response to this, many questions were raised about the MTS Centre's potential suitability to host an NHL team. Until 2015, the MTS Centre's capacity of 15,016 was well below that of the next-smallest NHL arena, the New York Islanders' Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which sat 16,170 but lacked modern design elements that the MTS Centre had.

The Winnipeg Jets celebrate their first regulation win in Winnipeg at the MTS Centre on October 17, 2011.

After the building of the MTS Centre, the owners of the arena, David Thomson and True North chairman Mark Chipman, began to be floated as the potential owners of an NHL team. Chipman stated that the arena's current size was sufficient for an NHL team due to its unique economics.[16]

After two failed attempts to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes, on May 19, 2011 the Globe and Mail reported that the Atlanta Thrashers would be moved to Winnipeg.[17] These reports were at the time denied by True North saying, "It's simply not true, it's not a done deal."[18] Twelve days later, however, a deal was completed and announced May 31, 2011 at a press conference at the MTS Centre. The sale and relocation was formally approved by the NHL Board of Governors at their meeting on June 21. As part of the transition to the NHL, the arena went through some minor renovations to bring it in line with the league's standards, including construction of additional press boxes, shuttered lighting, flexible rink glass, and upgraded ice refrigeration system.[19]

Prior to the return of the Jets, the MTS Centre hosted an NHL pre-season game on September 17, 2006 between the Edmonton Oilers and the Phoenix Coyotes in front of a sold-out crowd, which the Oilers winning 5–0.[20] Later, the arena hosted a game between the Phoenix Coyotes and Calgary Flames on September 24, 2008. Calgary defeated Phoenix 3–2 in front of 12,621 fans. On September 24, 2009, the MTS Centre welcomed the Edmonton Oilers and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning won 4-3 in overtime.[21] On September 22, 2010, the MTS Centre welcomed the 2010 Stanley Cup Champions Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning in front of a crowd of 14,092. The Lightning won that game 4–2.

American Hockey League[edit]

The American Hockey League's Manitoba Moose were the arena's first primary tenant, from its opening in 2004 to 2011.[1] The team relocated to St. John's to make way for the arrival of the Winnipeg Jets prior to the 2011–12 NHL season.[22] After four seasons in St. John's, the Moose will return to the MTS Centre for the 2015–16 season making the arena the first (together with the SAP Center at San Jose) to be home of both an NHL team and its AHL affiliate.[6][7] As was the case during the team's first tenure in Winnipeg, only the lower bowl, which has a capacity of 8,812, will be open for the majority of Moose home games.[7]


In international hockey, the MTS Centre hosted the 2007 IIHF Women's World Championship, which was won by the host country. Other international matches hosted at the arena include a 2005 World Junior Championship pretournament game and the medal round of the 2011 World U-17 Hockey Challenge.

Notable events hosted[edit]

Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Quick Facts". True North Sports & Entertainment. Retrieved February 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ Canadian inflation numbers based on Statistics Canada. "Consumer Price Index, historical summary". CANSIM, table (for fee) 326-0021 and Catalogue nos. 62-001-X, 62-010-X and 62-557-X. And Consumer Price Index, by province (monthly) (Canada) Last modified 2013-12-20. Retrieved January 8, 2014
  3. ^ Crosier Kilgour - Projects
  4. ^ Number TEN Group - Recreation
  5. ^ - MTS Centre
  6. ^ a b "True North relocates AHL franchise to Winnipeg". Winnipeg Jets. March 12, 2015. Retrieved March 13, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c Roberts, Meghan (March 12, 2015). "Winnipeggers and local businesses welcome AHL team". CTV Winnipeg. Retrieved March 13, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "MTS Centre (True North Centre". PCL Construction. Retrieved August 4, 2010. [dead link]
  10. ^ Ternette, Nick (December 3, 2009). "The MTS Centre Has Not Revitalized Downtown". The Uniter. Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Timothy Eaton statue begins relocation to MTS Centre". October 29, 2003. Retrieved July 22, 2010. 
  12. ^ Lawless, Gary (October 29, 2005). "Thanks a Million, Folks!". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved May 17, 2009. 
  13. ^ MacLean, Cameron (January 24, 2009). "MTS Centre 19th-Busiest Showbiz Venue in World". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Pollstar Top 100 Worldwide Arena Venues 2009" (PDF). Pollstar. Retrieved April 9, 2010. 
  15. ^ Letkemann, Jessica (May 17, 2011). "Pearl Jam reveals WI Labor Day Festival". Billboard. Retrieved May 17, 2011. 
  16. ^ Ternette, Nick (November 3, 2010). "Coyote Question: Is Phoenix an NHL Market?". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved November 21, 2010. 
  17. ^ Brunt, Stephen (May 19, 2011). "Atlanta Thrashers Moving to Winnipeg". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Sources: Thrashers Deal Not Done". ESPN. May 19, 2011. Retrieved May 19, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Daly Says MTS Centre Meets Most League Standards As Is". TSN. June 9, 2011. Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  20. ^ The Canadian Press (September 16, 2006). "Former Jets Return to Winnipeg After 10 Years". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 17, 2009. 
  21. ^ Wiebe, Ken (May 5, 2009). "Lightning to Host Oilers at MTS Centre". Winnipeg Sun. Retrieved May 17, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Thrashers Headed to Winnipeg". ESPN. June 1, 2011. Retrieved June 1, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Winnipeg Arena
Home of the
Manitoba Moose

2004 – 2011
Succeeded by
Mile One Centre
(as St. John's IceCaps)
Preceded by
Mile One Centre
(as St. John's IceCaps)
Home of the
Manitoba Moose

2015 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Philips Arena (as Atlanta Thrashers)
Home of the
Winnipeg Jets

2011 – present
Succeeded by