The Winnipeg Arena was built in the mid-1950's, primarily as a hockey
venue. It is located at 1430 Maroons Rd in Winnipeg
, directly to the north of Polo Park Shopping Centre and to the immediate south of Winnipeg Stadium
It first played host to the Western Hockey League's Winnipeg Warriors, who survived in various incarnations until departing for Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1984. When the World Hockey Association (WHA) was formed in 1972, the Winnipeg Jets became one of the cornerstone franchises of the new league. The Arena hosted many great teams, including the two-time AVCO Cup champion Jets. When the league folded in 1979, the Jets (along with their arena) were absorbed into the NHL. During the early 1980s, an upper deck was added to the arena bringing its maximum capacity to 15,393.
The Jets played in Winnipeg until the 1995-96 season, when they left town to become the Phoenix Coyotes. Part of the reason that owner Barry Shenkarow sold the franchise was the inability to come to an agreement between the various power brokers -- federal, provincial and civic politicians, corporate interests and private investors -- regarding the construction of a replacement arena. The same year, the International Hockey League's Minnesota Moose relocated to Winnipeg and were rechristened the Manitoba Moose. The Moose franchise jumped to the American Hockey League (AHL) prior to the start of the 2001-02 season.
In addition to NHL games, the Arena has hosted several world class sporting events: one game in the historic 1972 Summit Series (pitting the best hockey players from Canada against the Soviet team), two Pan Am Games in 1967 and 1999, several World Curling Championships and World Junior Hockey Championships. The Arena also serves as a venue for cultural events, concerts and conventions.
The venerable arena remains in service to this day, although new plans to replace it with a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Winnipeg have been drafted.
I can remember attending Warriors and Jets games as early as age 3. The Jets weren't terribly good back then, but I always cheered for them. My father was rather cheap, so we usually stuck to the $6 nosebleed
seats at the south end of the Arena, behind the enormous portrait of the Queen
. The seats were inclined so steeply that one could get vertigo
if you stood up too fast.
I attended dozens of events at the Arena besides Jets, Moose and Warriors games: the Shrine Circus, Schmockeynight (a variety show for charity held at the Arena, on ice) and many concerts including Midnight Oil, The Tragically Hip, Poison, and Winnipeg's own Crash Test Dummies.
Select-A-Seat Venue Information - http://www.selectaseat.mb.ca/venue_root.htm
The Internet Hockey Database - http://www.hockeydb.com/
Arenas by Munsey and Suppes - http://www.sfo.com/~csuppes/NHL/misc/index.htm