Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Real Man Road Trip: Winnipeg Jets

A post by Justin Kierstead.

Work trips aren't always exciting, but sometimes you get lucky. As luck would have it, one of my recent work related trips to the 'Peg included a stop to the MTS Centre to see the Winnipeg Jets host the Dallas Stars.

Now, growing up in southern Ontario, I am not a Winnipeg Jets super fan. I bleed the blue & white of the Toronto Maple Leafs (go ahead, insert joke here). However, given the opportunity to go and see my first live NHL game in nearly 20 years, I jumped at the opportunity.

Our flight departed the sleepy Thunder Bay Airport. I love this airport. It’s small and you can literally arrive at the airport 30 minutes before your flight is scheduled to leave without a care in the world. I packed light (see Ed’s post on packing, it’s top shelf) with just my carry-on. I show up, pick up my boarding pass and was off. We landed in Winnipeg at the same time we took off, due to the one hour flight and one hour time difference, and were greeted by a white stretch limo to parade us around town. We made a not-so-quick stop at Earl’s for lunch, and then we were off to deal with the business aspect of the trip.
Radisson Hotel and MTS Centre
After "taking care of business" (Bachman–Turner Overdrive) we made our way to our hotel. We stayed at the Radisson Hotel Winnipeg Downtown, a very nice spot. Rooms were clean, staff was pleasant, but the best thing about it was the location. It was literally attached to the MTS Centre, the home of the Jets. So we freshened up, grabbed a couple of beers in the hotel bar and we were off to the game.
Room and Winnipeg Jets jersey
I've never before had the privilege of attending anything in a private box, so I was pretty much in awe when I walked in. So I spent a couple of minutes just taking it all in, because I’ll probably never get to do it again, it was pretty awesome.

the view from suite 27
The crowd in Winnipeg was outstanding. The MTS Centre is the smallest arena in the NHL but the fans can really get the place rocking. They wasted little time letting Tim Thomas of the Dallas Stars know exactly what they thought of him. I had the privilege of witnessing the home team bludgeon the visitors to the tune of 7-2. The best part of games like this, while not the most exciting from a competition point of view, is the feeling you get each and every time the home team scores. Even though I’m not a true Jets fan, the feeling of camaraderie when you put that jersey on and step into that arena with all those other fans is unlike anything in the world.

After watching the arena empty out we headed to the Shark Club, conveniently located within the complex, for a couple more beers to finish up the night.

The next morning saw more business-related activities and then we were back on the plane to Thunder Bay.

All in all, the trip was incredible. I’d highly recommend staying at the Radisson, the prices are reasonable for a downtown hotel and with its proximity to the entertainment district, a good time is sure to be had. I really can’t put the atmosphere of the MTS Centre into words. You need to visit and take it all in for yourself; it’s unreal. And if you’re looking to do it up, give Hollywood Limousine a call and tell ‘em Justin sent you.

- Justin

(Editors Note: Justin is a long time friend of the Real Man Travels crew. He's been mentioned a few times on our site, including the heart warming, feel good story, Silence Says Everything, in which he and I renewed our Bromance. A little more info on Justin: He's a happily married father of two children, exceptional do-it-yourself'er, electrical engineer, and the resident nerd/gamer for Real Man Travels. If you have a computer issue you would like assistance with, or need tips on how to install crown molding, please leave your questions in the comment section below).


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