Q&A: Mark Chipman, Executive Chairman, True North Sports + Entertainment

September 3, 2019


If you’ve never been to a Winnipeg Jets home game at Bell MTS Place, you might find yourself startled during the playing of the Canadian national anthem, when the more than 13,000 fans in attendance shout, “TRUE NORTH!” at the top of their lungs.
A lot of Winnipeggers know True North Sports + Entertainment owns the city’s NHL team, but that’s only part of the reason fans pay homage to the organization during the national anthem.

The other part is Mark Chipman.

True North’s executive chairman, Chipman made it his mission to bring the Jets back to Winnipeg from the moment they left in 1996. From bringing in the Manitoba Moose, to the construction of Bell MTS Place, ultimately culminating with the purchase of the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers on May 31, 2011.

On September 27, The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce will host Chipman at the RBC Convention Centre for The State of Hockey, hosted by TSN’s Dennis Beyak, where guests will get a rare glimpse into the mind of one of Winnipeg’s most respected and influential business and community leaders.

Before that, we caught up with Chipman for a quick and casual Q&A.

Q: As both a born-and-raised Winnipegger and passionate hockey fan, what is one childhood hockey memory that sticks out to you?

There are two hockey memories that stick out in my mind from my childhood. The first is watching Bobby Orr’s game-winning goal against St. Louis to win the Stanley Cup in 1970. The other would have to be attending Game Three of the Canada/USSR Summit Series in September of 1972. Both are part of such legendary moments in hockey history.

Q: From the time the buzzer sounded inside the Winnipeg Arena at the end of the 3rd period on April 28, 1996, you were working to bring the NHL back to the city. If you could only use one word to describe the entire day nearly 15 years later on May 31, 2011, which word would you choose?

Humility. That day was really a mix of many emotions for myself and everyone involved. We worked very hard to protect the confidentiality of the deal because, from the start, we were very worried about letting people down. So, I was very humbled to conclude the deal early that morning and make the announcement.

Q: What was one thing that surprised you or you weren’t prepared for about owning an NHL team in Winnipeg?

I would say the thing that I was least prepared for in owning an NHL team in Winnipeg was the sense of responsibility that comes from the amount of passion that so many people hold for the team in our city and province.

Q: How about a favourite moment or game from the eight seasons the Jets (2.0) have in the books?

There have been a lot of very memorable moments over the Jets eight seasons in Winnipeg. But if I had to pick one, it would be the Game Seven win in Nashville during the 2018 playoff run.

Q: What was the last great TV show you watched, or are currently watching?

I don’t watch a lot of TV, and prefer to spend my spare time reading instead. But I did really enjoy the entire Downton Abbey series as well as The Crown.

​The State of Hockey
Friday, September 27
11:30 a.m.—1:30 p.m
RBC Convention Centre