‘We are very excited’: Business community ready for Jets playoff hockey

The playoffs start on Tuesday for the Winnipeg Jets and fans and businesses alike are ready to go.

Underdogs on Portage Avenue is preparing for an influx on fans for the opening game.

“We are very excited. We are hoping to get a full house every Jets game,” said Kyle Matheson, the co-owner of Underdogs.

He is hoping the excitement around playoff hockey turns into more customers, something he’s looking to amplify with deals.

“We are going to a have bunch of promos. We are offering cheap beer. We are giving away prizes ever time certain players get goals and yeah, it’s going to be a great time.”

The bar is nearly booked solid for all away games, a similar boom that Smitty’s locations are seeing.

“It’s just so exciting to see our lounges full and people celebrating together and toasting together when’s there’s a score, cheering out loud. It’s great to have everyone back in the building,” said Valerie Funk, a Smitty’s owner.

There are several other options for Winnipeggers to take in the games as well. The Park Theatre will be holding a viewing party for Game 1, with the game being shown on the big screen.

Pregame Sports Bar and Lounge will have the game on and, if attendees wear Jets gear, they gets 10 per cent off everything.

At Canadian Brewhouse, people will have a chance to win playoff tickets and then can get $1 off select tankards of beer.

And at Hat Tricks Sports Bar, there will be drink deals and food specials. Also, the bar plans on giving away jerseys, sticks and Jets gear.

With restaurants and bars ready for more customers, a deep playoff run could mean big business.

“Every individual playoff game hosted by a city, you expect an injection of $3.5 million into your local economy,” said Loren Remillard, the president and CEO of Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.

Remillard added playoff games also attract out of town visitors who spend money on things like tourist attractions.

“Hotel stays, we will see some people coming from out of town to enjoy the games as well. And to our hotels, of course, that’s welcome news.”

Stores that sell Jets gear will also see a positive impact from the playoffs.

“It’s definitely a boost for us to have the Jets make the playoffs. So you know everybody wins,” said Ben Little, the manager of Royal Sports on Pembina.

As for the official White Out Street Parties, booked for Game 3 and 4, tickets went on sale Monday morning and have already sold out for both the Saturday and Monday night games.

Game 1 goes at 8:30 p.m. CT from Las Vegas.

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