Winnipeggers react to “dirty” comments from out-of-town NHL’ers

By: Nicole Brownlee

Visiting NHL players call Bell MTS place, a “tough rink to play in,” and Winnipeg’s downtown “dirty.” Red River College student, Josh Ferozdin, disagrees and says that downtown is “pretty beautiful” on Nov. 11./ NICOLE BROWNLEE

Winnipeggers react to NHL players’ distaste for their city.

On Nov. 5, Global News journalist Sam Thompson reported that according to an ESPN poll, 42 per cent of 50 NHL players across the league dread coming to Winnipeg. Thompson’s response to the poll has lead to Winnipeggers like Josh Ferozdin who says he feels protective of his city.

“I don’t think it’s that bad. I’ve walked through downtowns in other cities in Canada where I felt more unsafe,” said Ferozdin, 21.

“Downtown is pretty beautiful,” said the Construction Management student. “I think our downtown has been putting in lots of effort to try to give it an uplift.”

The downtown area is making improvements. In 2018, Downtown Winnipeg BIZ stated in its annual report it has an operating budget of about $4.6 million used to improve the image of downtown Winnipeg. The BIZ also said in its report it needs to focus on promoting accessibility, safety and constant activity downtown—the top priorities for its 2019 Action Plan.

Matt Csuk, a history student at the University of Winnipeg, said he thinks downtown Winnipeg needs revitalization. 

“Winnipeg doesn’t have the nightlife as you would see in places like Toronto or Vancouver,” said Csuk, 25.

Matt Csuk thinks “NHL players should be more open-minded” about Winnipeg’s downtown./ NICOLE BROWNLEE

Csuk understands why visiting NHL players might not want to leave their hotel because they usually stay at the Fairmont. 

“Having the Fairmont on a closed-up Portage and Main is not an ideal location to go explore downtown,” said Csuk.

However, Csuk laughed when he recalled that an anonymous player in ESPN’s poll said, “you walk around the city and feel like you need to wash your face after you go outside.” 

“If players spent more time in the city and had more of an opportunity to see the fun spots in town to hang out at, I bet they would have a different opinion,” said Csuk.

Csuk said jersey sales at his sports retail store have not been affected by the Nov. 5 Global News article about the ESPN poll./ NICOLE BROWNLEE

Csuk also mentioned that he had not seen a change in Winnipeg Jets jersey sales or his customer’s opinion of the Jets at his sports retail job.