If you are lost in all of the Winnipeg Whiteout fanfare going on and would like to get in on the fun, it’s not too late! This guide is for you.
What’s the fuss about?
Winnipeg Whiteout Street parties are mainly a show of support for the city’s hockey team, the Winnipeg Jets. Thousands of fans gather to cheer for them, they watch the game on large video screens and join the fanfare (food trucks and liquor are available). It is held at Donald Street between Portage and Graham (but the area may expand due to the increasing number of party-goers). The parties are said to have attracted international attention, both because of the city’s winning team as well as the intense show of support especially last year when the team had a shot at competing for the Stanley Cup. The Stanley Cup is the National Hockey League’s top championship prize. It was notable because for the first time in two decades, the home team was competitive in the playoffs. By the way, the playoffs are the games leading to the championship. It is an elimination tournament consisting of four rounds of best-of-seven series.
This year, plans are underway to have Whiteout parties during every home game for the team’s 2019 playoff run. However, it is no longer free to attend. Individual tickets are $5 with a limit of four per person per game.
Winnipeg Whiteout actually began 1987. That year, the Winnipeg Jets was in the first round of the playoff series. Prior to the Jets’ game against the Calgary Flames (whose fans wore red), fans were asked to wear white to support the home team. On game night, the arena became awash with white, showing the solidarity of Winnipeggers and their passion for the game. The Jets eliminated the Calgary Flames and Whiteout became a uniquely Winnipeg tradition. The word whiteout also means blizzard and alludes to Winnipeg’s notorious winter weather. Watch how it all began here: History of Winnipeg Whiteout (NHL.com, courtesy of Sportsnet).
Want to join in the fun?
If you are a Jets fan or (a wanna-be fan) you are welcome to join the party. People usually start coming by 5:00 pm and the game begins at 7:00 pm. Expect to feel a great sense of community and camaraderie as you join thousands of Winnipeggers in rooting for the home team. It’s one of the best and fastest way you can understand and immerse yourself in hockey culture (and into the Canadian community at large).
If you want to catch up on the games but don’t understand what’s going on, we have prepared a primer for you. But a warning, once you get immersed in hockey, there’s no turning back! It’s an intense and exciting game (just ask any born and bred Winnipegger). It is even more exciting when you understand its rules and mechanics. Go to the next article: Ice Hockey basics: Knowing more about the play to get in on the game.
Article updated April 9, 2019.
Sources: Playoffs 101: A fair-weather’s fan guide to post-season Winnipeg Jets hockey, Bartley Kives, CBC News; ‘Fierce Winnipeg pride’: Whiteout Street Parties expanding again for 2nd round of playoffs, CBC News; and History of the Winnipeg Whiteout, NHL.com. All retrieved May 1, 2018. Jets Whiteout Street parties get $400,000 shot from province, CBC News. Accessed April 9, 2019.
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