Written by Janet Harder
Director of Event Management for Canad Inns
General Manager of The Metropolitan Entertainment Centre
This was not supposed to happen…I think we are all still in shock for what was a very – anti-climactic end to our playoff hopes and dreams. We love our Winnipeg Jets and support them at all cost, no judgment coming from here – I could not step up and do what they do. Under a significant amount of pressure to produce – in the spotlight. Street Party yes, but just another 15-20 thousand people to watch every move they make, every second they make them. They are amazing and will one day take us to the cup – we all have no doubt and are true believers. This was not our year, that’s all. Stanley Cup 2020.
On the very flip side of this excitement – I am a venue and event manager who resides smack dab in the epicentre of the White Out Street Party events. My front doors were 4 feet from 30 thousand people at its peak in 2018. Considering the logistics to being in the heart of the party – the planning could only happen, 48 – 72 hours in advance and you just never knew if the next White Out Party was or was not going to happen. To find, schedule, order, plan – call on and call of staff, access to work – supplies redirected for street shut downs and all the other mayhem, it was truly awesome! The reason we all do events.
Then Don Cherry came to town, to us and on our rooftop overlooking the crowd. If I would have called Don’s agent (Ron…lol) and asked for this promotional opportunity- there would not have been enough zeros on that check. Nope – Don and Ron graciously, joined us on their own actions, for our community. True class acts, sportsman, funny and dedicated individuals. They came for our Manitoba community. 9 home games later, I am sure we all could not have been happier or prouder to make it as far as we did – it ended with a bang, happy exhaustion, we made it – now need therapy type of success.
Flash forward to 2019 – we are set to go. Completely ready to handle the White Out Street Parties. We got this…we know now how to handle all the last-minute planning and resource fulliments for 15 – 20 thousand people – or not. Home Game 1 – What, the rules change and now you need a ticket? You can’t get to our venue (In the middle of the Street Out Party). We had a very slow night and the night ended on a bit of a down note. Having expressed concern for access issues with the organizing committee – it was immediately rectified to ensure we were not negatively impacted; we are a community of our own during these events. Home Game 2, Ok – new rules, all access issues corrected and guest can come and go to the party as all other ticket holders. Business is good – we are filling up this time and back on track. Busy – long days. The game ends, venue clears – we meet as a team and tell ourselves, it’s on like last year – get ready. Home Game 3 – What – you capped the Street Party with 4 thousand less attendees? We are very busy but were very ready for more. The great thing is, we still filled up for the game. Game 4 – nope. We are done – 15 seconds between right and wrong. Wah…Wah…Wah…fade to blue…
Hence – the anti-climatic end for all of us. Why did I write about this, because I miss the excitement, the community, the complete exhaustion – the opportunities for showcasing our city, the last minute and complete stress…now I know I was meant for this work, it is inspiring just to ‘make’ it through….and on to the next.
Thank you Winnipeg Jets and all sports fans of Winnipeg.
Hat’s off to all of the surrounding businesses and planners who worked as a community.
GO JET’S GO 2020