The Winnipeg Jets have emerged into one of the National Hockey League's premier hockey clubs in 2023-24 — but it isn't leading to an uptick in attendance at Canada Life Centre. The opposite, actually.

The team confirmed that the season-ticket base had shrunk by 27 percent over the last three years, from 13,000 to just under 9,500, per's Darrin Bauming. It doesn't help that the arena is the smallest permanent venue in the league, with a capacity of just 15,225.

But NHL commissioner Gary Bettman isn't worried.

“I don't view this as a crisis,” Bettman explained alongside deputy commissioner Bill Daly in Winnipeg on Tuesday. “But I do believe, as with any team in any market, there needs to be collaboration between community and the fan base and the club. And I believe, ultimately, it will be here.”

Building must be full for hockey to work in Winnipeg, says Bettman

Bettman also referenced his comments from over a decade ago, when the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers and subsequent relocation to Canada went through.

“I was quoted in 2011 saying for this to work well the building's got to be full, and that's true,” Bettman continued. “I know that Mark Chipman and [co-owner] David Thomson aren't interested in just surviving in the NHL. They want to thrive along the lines of how the team is playing this year. And this will get sorted out. Obviously the attendance needs to improve, but it will. I have a confidence in the organization. And as importantly, I have a confidence in this community.”

“This is a team that’s widely regarded around the League as a model franchise,” Daly echoed. “Well run from top to bottom, puts a competitive hockey team on the ice, spends to the cap. But also invests, as Gary said, in the community and all their charitable initiatives and their investment in the city. We wish we had 32 of these. … Hockey matters here and that’s important to us. So Winnipeg matters to us.”

Chipman, the organization's executive chairman, said earlier this week that the current attendance numbers were not going to work long-term.

“It's not something that we can do it on our own,” he asserted. “There are very few levers that we can pull. But one is the number of people that come to games, so that's why it's so important to us. It's long-term health so that we can be competitive, so that you can be proud of our team.”

Jets continue to thrive despite low attendance

Despite the disappointing amount of people coming to the rink in Manitoba these days, the Jets remain one of the top teams in the NHL. Winnipeg is 37-15-5, has won four games in a row, and currently occupies the top spot in an ultra-competitive Central Division.

Although the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars complete the three-headed monster in the division, the Jets have an excellent chance to secure the No. 1 spot down the stretch.

Despite the low attendance, the Jets continue to succeed. And one thing is very certain: Canada Life Centre will be full again once postseason hockey returns to Winnipeg — for the sixth time in seven seasons — come April.