Tag Archives: NHL Hockey

Bell Relinquishes Jets Arena Naming Rights

For the first time in the history of the rink, the home to the NHL Winnipeg Jets won’t carry the name of a telecommunications giant. While Bell Canada announced on June 15 that it had agreed to a multi-year partnership with the Jets to continue as the arena’s official telecommunications provider, True North Sports & Entertainment, owners of the Jets, revealed the same day that the rink would no longer be known as Bell MTS Place. Going forward, the building will be taking on a new life as the Canada Life Centre.

In the recently-completed Stanley Cup playoffs North Division finals, the Jets faced the Montreal Canadiens. Winnipeg was heavily favoured at all of the best Canadian sportsbooks, but Jets backers could’ve used some of that life insurance. They were snuffed out in the minimum four games by the Habs.

The name change will officially take place on Canada Day, July 1. The 10-year sponsorship agreement includes substantial branding, media, hospitality and community assets for Canada Life. Home to both the NHL Jets and the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose, Winnipeg’s top farm club, the arena typically hosts more than 140 events each year and is consistently recognized as one of the premier sports and entertainment venues in North America.

The 440,000-square-foot building can house 15,000 fans at a hockey game and more than 16,000 at concerts.

When the MTS Centre opened in 2004, the AHL Moose were the major tenants of the facility. The Jets moved into the building in 2011 after being relocated from Atlanta.

While the name Canada Life Centre is effective July 1, 2021, it will take several weeks to replace the current signage in place throughout the facility. Canada Life estimates that all of the signage will be changed over by September.

While Bell gained its name on the building by purchasing MTS, Canada Life also recently underwent a similar acquisition. Great West Life and London Life were usurped in a merger and are now all part of the Canada Life brand.

Mark Chipman, executive chairman of True North Sports & Entertainment, indicated that the opportunity for this partnership arose just as the Bell MTS agreement was about to come to an end.

“I’ve known Paul and the folks at Canada Life for a long, long time,” Chipman told the Winnipeg Free Press. “Certainly, this was something we were both interested in seeing happen. But more than that, I think the most unique and powerful part of this is that it is a national company that is still very local.”

True North Sports & Entertainment is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

“It couldn’t be a better time to embark upon the next 10 years of our journey than with a partner like Canada Life, that shares the same community commitment and passion for our great city and country,” Chipman said.

Chipman noted that with the hopefulness growing that the COVID-19 pandemic is coming under control, that the company has initiated the process of tentatively booking concerts and other events for the fall.

“However, it all depends on the public health orders in place at the time,” Chipman said.

Paul Mahon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Great-West Lifeco, Canada Life’s parent company, noted that they were OK with that prospect and are focusing on a long future of working with True North.

“We’re in this for a big decade of collaboration,” Mahon said. “Even if that means it’ll be a slow start to events because of the pandemic, obviously that’s disappointing to the fans and people wanting to come back to stands, but we’re just excited we get to be there for this journey as a team.”

Brief History With Bell
Known as the MTS Centre when it opened in 2004 at a cost of $133.5 million, the arena was renamed the Bell MTS Place on May 30, 2017, following Bell Canada’s acquisition of Manitoba Telecommunication Services.

While Bell will see its name removed from the Jets arena, the company’s logo will continue to adorn the Jets’ helmets for the next five seasons as part of the telecommunications deal.

Bell still has its name on one significant NHL arena. In 2002, Bell Canada paid $100 million US for the naming rights to the home of the Montreal Canadiens, formerly known as the Molson Centre. A 20-year pact, that deal will also be coming to completion soon. Montreal’s arena will be called the Bell Centre through 2022.

Winnipeg Jets by TheAthletic is licensed under CC BY 3.0


Major Upcoming Sporting Events: How to Watch in Canada

As summer quickly approaches, there is much to look forward to when it comes to viewing important competitions in real-time. In this article we outline a few, starting with the highly anticipated football event, Euro 2020. When it comes to this competition, historically the most successful teams have been Spain and Germany who each hold three titles. However, this year both England and France are looking good with top odds for the win and fans are eager to see where this may lead.

In this article we take a look at where exactly Canadian fans can watch this special event and several others from the comfort of their own living room televisions. After all, the opportunity to tune into major sports competitions is an invaluable aspect of fandom. Even when supporters may not be able to make it to an event in person, watching the live action surrounded by friends at home can sometimes be just as exciting an experience.

Euro 2020
With a total of 51 matches taking place across 11 major European cities, the Euros are this summer’s premier football event. The series, which is held every four years, has been in circulation since 1960 with 2020 being the first year of its cancelation. This summer, the UEFA Euro 2020 will celebrate its 60th birthday. The format of the 2020 Euros will mirror that of 2016 in which the top two countries in the final groups will proceed as well as those four who finish in third place.

Although the first game is not set to take place until June 11th, fans are already preparing themselves for an intense group of matches and picking their own personal favourites for the Henri Delaunay Trophy.

For Canadian-based supporters, they can tune into the either Bell Media or TVA television network to catch all the international football drama.

NBA Finals
The NBA is no stranger to Canadian-born sports enthusiasts and players. In 1995, the league expanded into the Great White North with two organizations, one being the Toronto Raptors who are still playing today in the Eastern Conference. Since then, the Raptors recently won their first NBA Championship in 2019 which was also the very first by a franchise not based in the U.S.

For all these reasons and more, basketball fans are prevalent in Canada and will most likely be highly interested in tuning in to this year’s Finals series, which is set to begin on July 8th. Right now, the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets are Eastern Conference leaders, and the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns are shaking up things in the West.

Additionally, with sporadic injuries affecting some of the league’s top-performing playmakers like Lebron James, this season has been full of twists and turns. Fans can watch all regular and playoff matches as well as the Finals Championship games on Canada’s premier sports network, TSN. For non-cable holders, there is always the option to live stream the face offs or purchase an official NBA League Pass.

French Open
Moving onto tennis, the French Open will begin before the Euros, starting on May 30th and ending on June 13th. The Grand Slam tournament will be held in Paris at the Stade Roland Garros sports complex, the same venue it has occupied since 1928.

Tennis fans are well aware that Spanish born champion, Rafael Nadal is the event’s reigning king, having won each championship since 2017. Currently, he holds the most consecutive titles for men’s singles, an achievement that has earned him both national and international praise and recognition.

Canadians interested in watching one of tennis’ main events can see Nadal and others compete in real-time on TSN if that is included in the fan’s cable package. Both French and English commentary will be available. There is also the option to live stream the event or purchase an VPN if you happen to be out of the country but still want to watch.

Stanley Cup
As ice hockey is one of Canada’s, if not the most celebrated sport in the country, it’s safe to say that there are more than a few hockey enthusiasts residing in various parts of the nation. The NHL currently has seven different franchises which are Canadian based. They represent nearly all ten provinces, including Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto.

When it comes to important games, there’s no doubt that one of professional hockey’s best is the historic Stanley Cup. Having been around for well over 100 years, the competition awards the prestigious Stanley Cup to the first franchise to win four games in the series. Right now the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights are favoured, but Canada’s own Maple Leafs could definitely pull through for the North Division.

However, determining the final victor will be a long wait for fans as the Stanley Cup series won’t take place until sometime in July. Until then, residents in Canada can watch the games on Sportsnet and CBC. This goes for Cree fans as well, since the network announced in 2019 that it would begin broadening its services to provide Cree-language NHL broadcasts for Canadians.

Royal Ascot
Speaking of historic sports events, the Royal Ascot horse racing competition is one of Britain’s oldest and most prestigious. In fact, it is a centerpiece of the country’s history with the sport and has always been a symbol of elegance and class.

This year, the five-day extravaganza will take place between June 15th and June 19th. Normally, seven races are set to take place each day as fans venture from various parts of England and abroad to enjoy the glamorous show. It is also one of the most important events on the calendar year for punters and bettors as experts weigh in on the best stallions and their odds of finishing first.

For those outside of the UK, the best way to view all the nail-biting action is by purchasing a VPN and streaming the event through the country’s network, ITV. This channel and its accompanying mobile app provides detailed coverage throughout the entire week.


Sportsnet and APTN partner to broadcast more NHL games in Plains Cree

From a media release:

Following the historic first NHL broadcast in Plains Cree last season in conjunction with Rogers Hometown Hockey’s visit to Enoch Cree Nation, Sportsnet and APTN are expanding their partnership to deliver more games over the next three seasons. In total, a minimum of six games per year will be broadcast on APTN in Plains Cree – full 2019-20 broadcast schedule below.

Sportsnet will continue to deliver the broadcast production, which will feature exclusive Cree-language commentary and analysis from APTN broadcasters for fans across the country. Broadcaster Clarence Iron will have the play-by-play call for APTN, while Juno Award-winning musician Earl Wood will host the studio show alongside influential Cree-language promoter Jason Chamakese, with game analysis from NHL alum John Chabot.

This season’s Cree-language broadcast schedule also features a special Rogers Hometown Hockey stop as the tour visits Peguis First Nation, Man. on Sunday, March 1 where Ron MacLean and Tara Slone will host a live broadcast of the same game on Sportsnet.

In addition to an expanded commitment to delivering Cree-language NHL broadcasts to Canadians, Sportsnet also contributes to the national production of Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi Edition on OMNI Television.

2019-20 Cree-Language NHL Broadcast Schedule from Sportsnet on APTN:

  • Sunday, January 19 – Winnipeg Jets vs. Chicago Blackhawks (6:30 p.m. ET / 3:30 p.m. PT)
  • Sunday, February 9 – Winnipeg Jets vs. Chicago Blackhawks (6:30 p.m. ET / 3:30 p.m. PT)
  • Sunday, February 23 – Calgary Flames vs. Detroit Red Wings (6:30 p.m. ET / 3:30 p.m. PT)
  • Sunday, March 1 – Vancouver Canucks vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (6:30 p.m. Et / 3:30 p.m. PT)
  • Sunday, March 15 – Winnipeg Jets vs. Vancouver Canucks (7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT)
  • Sunday, March 29 – Anaheim Ducks vs. Edmonton Oilers (7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT)