Jets fans expect ‘absolute madness’ at whiteout party if team takes Game 4
For the second time in three days, thousands of boisterous Winnipeg Jets fans donned their best whiteout gear and waved playoff rally towels outdoors, braving cooler-than-normal temperatures to root on their favourite NHL team.
The excitement of Monday’s whiteout street party crowd was just as electric as Saturday’s outdoor extravaganza, with all Jets fans predicting a Game 4 win for the home team against the visiting Vegas Golden Knights inside Canada Life Centre.
Five thousand fans filled the main party area on Donald Street, between Portage and Graham avenues, with another 1,000 tickets sold for the Party in the Plaza at True North Square.
Sam Carriere was among the fans taking in the street party on Donald, and she said the energy in the crowd was unmatched. Saturday marked Winnipeg’s first whiteout party since 2019.
“The vibes are immaculate,” she said. “It’s just we have a lot of pent-up energy after being apart for so long, and it’s like now we get to all be together and let loose for once.”
After the Jets opened the series with a convincing 5-1 Game 1 road victory, the Golden Knights rebounded with a 5-2 win in Game 2 and a 5-4 double-overtime triumph in Game 3 as the best-of-7 Western Conference playoff series shifted to Winnipeg.
Jets forward Mark Scheifele was injured in the first period of Monday’s game.
If the Jets are able to win Game 4, that would ensure the series returns to Winnipeg for Game 6 this Saturday. Game 5 is Thursday night in Nevada.
Carriere fully expects that to happen, along with mayhem at the whiteout party.
“I think it’s gonna be like absolute madness. I was here when the The Jets beat the [Minnesota] Wild in five [in 2018] and I have never experienced anything like that,” Carriere said.
“So it’s going to be something for the ages.”
Game 6 is no guarantee yet, but Jets season-ticket holders Scott Gerrick and Brianne Sel will be back at the pre-game whiteout street after missing out on Saturday’s festivities.
Adorned in a white painter’s suit, complete with a white afro and his face painted completely white, Gerrick said the party is grander than it ever used to be. He believes the whiteout party crowd is all about bringing the noise.
“I think it’s going to be bigger and better because we’re kind of on the brink of needing to win this game tonight. So I think the crowd is gonna bring it,” he said.
Sel, who also wore a white painter’s suit and was holding a mini Stanley Cup, says the patronage and passion that fuels Jets fans is tied to the Jets having left the city in the 1990s.
“We know what it’s like to lose them,” she said. “And we cheer so they don’t leave again.”
WATCH | The birth of the Winnipeg whiteout:
Allan Robertson and his friend Jim Todd checked out the Party in the Plaza for the first time before entering Canada Life Centre to take in Game 4. Robertson said the smaller party was more reserved than the larger one.
“I think it’s going to be a lot like Saturday night. I wasn’t here, but I heard that it was crazy and lots of fun. And I hope it’s … a carryover from Saturday — except for we’re going to win,” Robertson said.
Todd predicted a 3-1 Winnipeg win, but he and Robertson would settle for a Game 4 win any way for Jets.
Robertson hopes Monday isn’t the last whiteout street party of the season, or home game for Winnipeg.
“I think it would be real disappointing, especially after the season that we’ve had so far up and down and now we’re starting to play like the Jets should be playing,” he said.
“It would be real disappointing that this could be the last time we’re here.”
Geoffrey Bushie’s attitude was nothing but positive.
He attended the whiteout party on Saturday and was back again Monday.
“Everybody’s here to party. We know the Jets are going to come back. So you know, vibes don’t change. Everybody’s positive,” Bushie said. “We have a great feeling going into tonight’s game.”
The Jets were without forward Nikolaj Ehlers once again in Game 4. He sustained an upper-body injury on April 11 against the Minnesota Wild and hasn’t played since.
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