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?
The Winnipeg Jets, the city’s hockey team, has a shot at competing for the Stanley Cup this year. The Stanley Cup is the National Hockey League’s top championship prize. This is especially notable because for the first time in two decades, the home team is 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. The Winnipeg Jets have moved on to the Western Conference Finals (3rd set of the series as of May 2018). The Jets will play against teams like the Vegas Golden Knights, Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins among others.
Meanwhile, a series of Winnipeg Whiteout Street Parties began when the playoffs started. Thousands of fans have gathered thus far for the parties to show support and cheer for the Winnipeg Jets. They often have to brave the cold weather to go. 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 has been expanding due to the increasing number of party-goers. The Whiteout Street Parties are said to have attracted international attention, both because of the city’s winning team as well as the Winnipeggers’ intense show of support.
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?
Admission is free to the Whiteout Street Parties. 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.
With thanks to Dan Sylvester for reviewing this article.
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.
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