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Hospitality House

The ShenkArena

This is the Winnipeg Arena, a.k.a. the ShenkArena, and also once dubbed the Hospitality House. The phrase, if memory serves me correctly, was coined by Barry Shenkarow News reporter Reyn Davis, during a session on CJOB radio. The motivation behind the name was the Jets habit, at least during their NHL hstory, of consistently allowing the opposition to dictate the style of play in the game, despite the fact that the Jets were the home team. I lost count of the number of times the Boston Bruins would come into Winnipeg, and neither team would hit the 20 shot mark in a clutch and grab style of game. Conversely, every time Edmonton would come to town, the game would always be played according to the Oilers' wishes - run and gun. The Jets, regardless of the opponent, were always only too happy to oblige their guests, and hence the name Hospitality House.

The Hospitality House was originally built in 1955, and underwent an expansion in 1979, adding the upper decks on the east and west sides, as well as an extension of the south end seating area, which saw an overhang onto Rapelje Avenue, which runs along the south end of the venerable old building. The expansion also saw the enclosure of the north end entrance, and a new box office area in that space. Years later, a row of private boxes were added along the east side seating area, under the upper deck and beyond the last row of seats. The seating area, post-expansion, boasts two distinct styles, the steep and vertical incline of the newer south end seating as well as the upper decks, and a more normal incline for the rest of the seating area. The place is a sturdy structure, but sadly poorly maintained throughout it's lifetime as the home of the Jets, and is home to many more four-legged creatures than hockey fans. The Hospitality House has had three different scoreboards throughout the Jets days. The red, padded seats always were reserved for the higher priced seats, and the blue seats, padded only with the finest lumber that Winnipeg Enterprises would buy, were always up in the higher rows. Ice level seating used to consist of stackable orange chairs, making the aforementioned blue seats look good. In time, newer, padded seating was added to the north and south end ice level areas, as well as the first two rows along the east and west sides, placed on only the highest quality plywood, adding that extra special touch of class that defined the building. To top off your experience, at least for male patrons, was a visit to the concourse level washrooms, where you could line up alongside your fellow man to expose your genitals, relieve yourself of liquid waste, and watch it, along with the waste products of your fellow man, flow right before your very eyes.

Such was the case of Winnipeg's palace of hockey, home of the Winnipeg Jets. It served as the only home of the Jets, both in the WHA and NHL. Many a fond moment was to be had, for both the home fans and visiting players alike.