Healthcare workers with various roles throughout this pandemic took on a new role Wednesday night: Winnipeg Jets fans.
Swapping well-worn scrubs for jerseys, 500 healthcare workers walked into the doors of BellMTS Place as special guests of the hockey team.
Earlier this week it was announced that for home Stanley Cup playoff games, up to 500 healthcare workers would be allowed to attend BellMTS Place in person.
"I have been a season ticket holder since the Jets came back," Kevin Martin, a healthcare worker of many roles including working with a helicopter EMS program and as a COVID-19 vaccine immunizer says.
Over the past year, he has done a lot of overtime but Wednesday night's game gave Martin a break. He was one of the hundreds chosen in a lottery-like draw from Shared Health for healthcare workers.
"I haven't been to a game since January of last year so it was a pleasant surprise and I thoroughly enjoyed myself."
Standing in the area with the limited crowd there was a moment of silence for the 215 children found last week at Kamloops Residential School.
After the heavy moment, the anthem played with a quieter tone in the air, except for one phrase.
"Every time I go to that game I yell 'True North.' It's a crowd building exercise, it's everybody in the building, and last, you know, it's just one of those hometown things that you enjoy."
Five hundred more workers will be able to attend Friday night's game at home.
"Everybody wants to get back to normal everybody wants their lives back they only were gonna get out of the issues is by following the public health rules and getting vaccinated."
Privileges for vaccinated Manitobans will continue, according to Premier Brian Pallister.
"The first bonus, the most important one, is that you are protecting your health and wellbeing but it may be, as an interim measure to reopen, that we give extra advantage like we did last night at a Jets game, to people who can prove they are vaccinated," Pallister says in a Thursday press conference.
With files from Mike Thom