The Sin Bin

May 29, 2010 1:47 PM

MTS Centre has NHL capacity

The past week there have been a few people that said that the MTS centre is too small for the NHL, the NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman made a statement contrary to that opinion shooting holes in that theory. Translation: MTS centre is big enough for an NHL team.
Bettman runs this show and the lesson that emerged from a Phoenix courtroom this year for the backers of an NHL bid in Winnipeg was this: Whatever else you do, follow the rules as they are made and interpreted by Bettman. Want a team for Winnipeg? Maybe he's got one for you -- but it will be at the commissioner's whim, at the time of his choosing and entirely on Bettman's terms.

And there was very good news this week on one of those fronts for the folks who want the NHL back in Winnipeg. One of Bettman's inviolable terms for an NHL team -- indeed, the one that cost us the Winnipeg Jets in the first place -- is the suitability of our city's arena.

And what Bettman made clear this week is this: For all the wringing of hands by NHL backers and opponents alike that Winnipeg's MTS Centre is too small for the NHL, the only opinion that matters in the end says our arena is big enough for him.

Here's what Bettman told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday: "While we play to 93 to 94 per cent capacity, we'd like to play to 100 per cent capacity," Bettman said. "A 15,000-16,000 seat arena might work better in some markets than a 19,000-seat arena."

A 15,000- to 16,000-seat arena? Funny thing -- Winnipeg just happens to have one of those sitting on Portage Avenue, a shiny new building with loads of luxury boxes and precisely 15,002 seats for hockey.

Is it on the small end? Yes, it is. But does it disqualify us for consideration? No, not after that pronouncement. [Read the whole article]

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