After much anticipation, the Winnipeg ICE have arrived in Manitoba’s capital, and will first hit the ice under the ‘Winnipeg’ moniker on Friday, September 6th. However, fans living in Winnipeg will have to travel west in order to see the league’s most recently relocated team in action prior to regular season puck drop.
With an abundance of in-arena changes underway at the University of Manitoba’s Wayne Fleming Arena (the new home of the Winnipeg ICE for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 WHL seasons), the ICE will play three of its four preseason tune-ups on the road, while Winnipeg’s one ‘home’ game will be hosted at Portage’s Stride Place.
Changes to ‘The Flem’ include upgrades in the number of available seats from 1,400 to 1,600, added premium loge seating, a balcony on the eastern side of the facility, a new ice-level party lounge, a new video jumbotron hung above centre ice, upgrades to the media gondola, protective safety netting, professional style arena boards and glass, a major overhaul of dressing rooms, as well as concession upgrades and in-arena seat service.
Beginning things off for Winnipeg will be back-to-back tests with now provincial rival Brandon Wheat Kings. Despite both teams having missed the WHL postseason in 2018-19, the two squads will be back, both younger and with more experience for the coming season. Brandon (31-29-8) missed the playoffs by one point last year, and will surely look to improve on its position in 2019-20. Winnipeg (Kootenay) went 13-45-10 for a dismal 36 points on the season, finishing second-last in the league. A significant improvement is expected.
Following their Friday/Saturday clash with Brandon, the ICE will travel further west to take on the Saskatoon Blades for a two-game set the following weekend at the SaskTel Centre. Whereas the Wheat Kings will head out to Moose Jaw for a home-and-home with the Warriors the following weekend. Friday, September 13th will be hosted in Saskatchewan, while the two teams return to Manitoba for Saturday’s contest.
Across the league, preseason games begin as early as August 27th and run as late as September 15th. Puck drop on the 2019-20 regular season is set for Friday, September 20th. A full 2019-20 WHL regular season schedule will be released in late June.
Winnipeg ICE Preseason Schedule:
|Fri, Sept 6||at Brandon||7:30 p.m. CT||Westoba Place||Brandon, MB|
|Sat, Sept 7||vs Brandon||7:00 p.m. CT||Stride Place||Portage, MB|
|Fri, Sept 13||at Saskatoon||8:00 p.m. CT||SaskTel Centre||Saskatoon, SK|
|Sat, Sept 14||at Saskatoon||8:00 p.m. CT||SaskTel Centre||Saskatoon, SK|
Brandon Wheat Kings Preseason Schedule: