Winnipeg hockey fans are celebrating the return of a hometown NHL team, as the Jets prepare for their home opening game.
The Jets will open the season as Winnipeg's first NHL team in 15 years on Sunday afternoon, when they host the Montreal Canadiens.
The puck drops at Winnipeg's MTS Centre at 4 p.m. CT (5 p.m. ET). The game is being broadcast on CBC-TV and livestreamed on CBCSports.ca.
Fans clad in Jets jerseys, sweaters and hats began flocking to downtown Winnipeg hours before the landmark game.
A total of about 15,000 people are expected to pack the MTS Centre for Sunday's sold-out home opener, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who purchased four tickets to the event.
The Jets sold out its 13,000 season tickets in just 17 minutes, and has already sold out its allotted tickets for the next three years.
Those who don't have tickets can go to The Forks, an historic site and popular downtown gathering place, to see live bands and other entertainers at the CBC Family FanZone party.
Fans can watch the Winnipeg-Montreal match on large video screens that have been set up at The Forks gathering, which runs until 8 p.m.
Former Jets player Thomas Steen, who played 14 seasons with Winnipeg before the team was transferred to Phoenix, said he is looking forward to being at Sunday's home opener.
"When I played Montreal, there were more Montreal fans in the building than the Jets fans. This time, tickets are all sold to Jets fans, [so] it's going to be different," Steen said with a chuckle.
"I got butterflies all inside me … tingly happiness over having the team back," he added.
Winnipeg police have already busted a number of people for scalping tickets. It is illegal to sell tickets for above face value, but it has not stopped some people from trying.
Scalpers face a captive market: many Winnipeggers have been doing what they can to score access to Sunday's home game.
Charlie Spiring, vice-chairman of National Bank, said he has received many requests for seats in the company's luxury box at the MTS Centre.
"Even Mom wanted a ticket and it's not going to work out, so Christmas will be a long, cold night and I might be getting coal in my stocking," Spiring joked.
"Those that aren't there with tickets are feeling left out, so people are calling old friends, bribing," he added. "I think people in Winnipeg are not beyond doing anything to get tickets to that event."
Newlyweds heading to game
Winnipeggers Rachel Borkowsky and Gabe Wu are attending Sunday's game in style, immediately after their wedding ceremony.
The newlyweds are heading to the MTS Centre in a limousine, with Borkowsky still wearing her wedding dress.
"It's like two dreams coming true: getting married and getting to go to the first Jets game again," Wu said.
Borkowsky said they have spent months preparing for the wedding, but they realized there would be a timing conflict between their wedding — originally slated for 4 p.m. — and the start of the Jets game.
"I thought, 'Oh no, we won't have any groomsmen; we might not have a groom,'" Borkowsky joked.
"We just talked about how epic getting married is, and how epic that the Jets are back," she said. "It'll just be so crazy — like, all the crowd cheering and everything. We're just so excited to see the puck drop."
In June, the NHL approves the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers, making way for their move back to Canada. Winnipeggers rejoice.
In a tragic turn, Winnipeg Jets forward Rick Rypien was found dead in his Alberta home. The death was ruled a suicide, rumoured to be linked with Rypien's depression.
The newest NHL team had no problem selling tickets when they announced the Jets were coming back to Canada -- 13,000 tickets were sold mere minutes after they went on sale this summer.
Like it was ever a question -- the returning NHL team opts to keep their old name and remain the Winnipeg Jets.
In July, the NHL unveiled a revamped logo for the Winnipeg Jets, choosing to stay away from old design and opting for a new identity.
Along with a new logo, the Jets revealed new uniforms in two shades of blue. Reception was mixed, with some preferring the old jerseys and other liking the new sleek look.
This fall, Winnipeg Jets enforcer Dustin Byfuglien was arrested for boating while intoxicated on Lake Minnetonka. There were some concerns that if convicted, he would have trouble entering Canada to play for the Jets.
In honour of their return, Prime Minister Harper unveiled one of two commemorative coins from the Royal Canadian Mint. Harper is in Winnipeg for the season opener between the Jets and the Canadiens.