The portrait of Queen Elizabeth II that hung in the rafters of Winnipeg Arena during the earlier incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets can be purchased on the Canadian classified website Kijiji.
Jets Nation found the online listing for the hockey historical artifact.
Portrait owner Jamie Boychuk confirmed to Puck Daddy that he is selling the painting.
“We bought it to bring it back to Winnipeg – it was the main thing for us to get it here and from there, we weren’t 100 percent sure what was going to happen to the portrait,” Boychuk said. “We always spread the word a little bit for the right spot, right location but now it’s time to ask the people of Winnipeg – who has a location for it? Who’s interested? And let’s talk about it.”
Said the listing:
Looking for a home for the original, one of a kind portrait of the Queen, which hung in the old Winnipeg Arena.
Dimensions are 16ft (h) x 14ft (w). Roughly 600lbs. Large area required to house this masterpiece. Incredible opportunity to drive people into your business with priceless advertising value.
Serious inquiries only.
In 1979 the painting was commissioned by the lieutenant governor of Manitoba to be hung in the rafters at Winnipeg Arena to replace another portrait.
After the original Jets left Winnipeg in 1996 to become the Arizona (Phoenix) Coyotes, the painting moved from location to location to try to find a buyer, but nobody wanted artwork of that size.
Our own Eric Adelson wrote a big profile of the Queen painting in the summer of 2015, chronicling its history.
The painting was purchased in early 2015 by Boychuk, a railroad executive. It was then renovated in hopes the new Jets purchase it and put it in the MTS Centre.
In Adelson’s story, Jets communications director Scott Brown explained that the painting wouldn’t work with the layout in the MTS Centre. Since then nothing has changed as far as a potential purchase of the painting by the Jets.
“We’ve been on record since the new building opened in 2004 that the dimensions of the painting don’t fit in MTS Centre. It would obstruct views of large sections of our upper level. We’ve never had any meaningful discussions with anyone about that painting,” Brown said in an email to Puck Daddy.
Boychuk said he had tried to talk to the Jets but is now looking for fan support to help him have more substantive talks with the team.
“You know what, we’ve reached out a few different times. Jets 2.0 is what they own. They don’t own the first Jets franchise,” he said. “That’s still the old style Jets that are owned by Phoenix from what I understand. It’s something that would need to be worked on with them. It’s something we keep encouraging everybody to talk to them and tell them what we want in Winnipeg.”
Even though the Jets may not have room for the painting in their current building, Jets Nation proposed another solution.
“… it would be a nice gesture by True North Sports Entertainment to place the art piece somewhere in their upcoming True North Square complex, perhaps in one of the new towers,” wrote author Jeff Veilette.
Boychuk said he prefers the painting to go to a place in Winnipeg where it can be visible to the public starving for Jets nostalgia.
“The whole part of this – we’ll probably never recoup the money we put into this,” he said. “That’s not what this is about. It’s about being visible to the people of Winnipeg so they can enjoy what it is and share the memories.”
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