Well, going to start off the month with one that very few people will have any sort of issue with. The local company that brought back our beloved Jets, which now that I’ve mentioned that’s all I’m going to say about the hockey club.
It wouldn’t be much of a post and there are thousands of people who could write it better than me. I’m also a huge fan of True North as a company for more reasons than just them bringing professional hockey back to the city, including what they did leading up and the process they went through in order to reach their goals.
The first thing that I’ve wanted to say, but haven’t had a post to do it before is that how much does every marketing / brand person watching a game salivate every time the crowd shouts “TRUE NORTH!” during the national anthem. I sure don’t remember that happening in Moose games, and while I can’t imagine a situation where when naming the company this possibility came up as a real consideration, it’s still pretty sweet.
Accidental branding perks aside, the lead up to getting the Jets back is what I like most about them. TNSE knew that there would have to be baby steps and waiting, as well as learning from the past Jets owners’s mistakes.
Starting years before the team was a possibility TNSE set the goal of getting professional hockey back and knew that they would need a facility. Enter the MTS Centre. Owning the building that the team would play in was a big lesson that they had learned.
Unfortunately, Winnipeg isn’t anywhere near wherever Field of Dreams is set, because once it was built it would be a while before it would come. So in the mean time the Moose were acquired and run with a great level of professionalism. Using the NHL’s farm system to show they had what it took to operate a pro sports team, like with players they hoped that it showed they had the skills to make it to the big leagues.
Not only that, since the Moose wasn’t enough of a draw to keep the MTS Centre profitable, True North worked to make it the busiest venue in North America. Acts which likely would have been passing Winnipeg over before were now selling out arena shows, and as a music fan I got to be one of the many to reap the benefits. It was of particular satisfaction when friends from other markets travelled into town to see an act they weren’t getting.
By proving that they could run a hockey club and could keep cash flows positive without relying on huge team revenue, True North Sports & Entertainment brought back the NHL in a very “Winnipeg” way: By quietly being better than anyone expected, waiting patiently and positioning themselves as the clear choice for the next opportunity to relocate a team.
Not only all of this, but the TNSE leadership seems to have always seen the best in Winnipeg, the Winnipeg the rest of us want our city to be. For that I salute them the most.