WINNIPEG - Male hockey fans in the Manitoba capital want a faster way to answer the call of nature.
Hundreds have signed an online petition arguing bathrooms at the home of the Winnipeg Jets can't handle the current flow of traffic. And they have a retro solution—they're calling on the MTS Centre to replace the modern single urinals with old-fashioned metal troughs.
The petitioners say most of the 15,000 hockey fans at games are beer-drinking men who need the bathroom at least once.
"Bring back the trough," reads the petition, that was signed by more than 200 people as of Wednesday morning. "After finishing 4+ beers, the average Joe has to go do his business. The new washroom service in the MTS Centre cannot handle the capacity."
They complain male fans have to spend too long in between hockey periods to pee and risk missing some of the action. The lineups also slow down traffic in the arena concourse, the petition argues.
"I think it's ridiculous that when u leave at the end of the second period to take a (pee) and come back in the middle of the third," wrote one signatory. "There is something seriously wrong with that!"
Replacing urinals with a trough would mean 10 guys could relieve themselves at a time instead of just four. The troughs were used in the old Winnipeg Arena and are still at Canad Inns Stadium, the former home of the CFL Blue Bombers.
Resurrecting the communal urinal has caught on among some diehard fans, both male and female.
One petitioner fondly remembers the trough as a "drive-through bathroom" with no lineup. Another says the trough "made it a joy to go pee."
"The system now is totally flawed and I almost pee my pants just waiting in line," he wrote.
"Everyone talks about the trough and how they miss it," wrote another. "We can get a lot more guys going to the can at once if we had the trough. I have missed the beginnings of periods and other events (concerts after intermission) just because I had to wait in line to take a leak. It's also incentive to buy less beer!"
At least one petitioner grumbled the current setup means men are being forced to line up "forever" just like women.
"MTS Centre washrooms must have been designed by a very bitter female," added another.
Many women—who are no stranger to long bathroom lineups—are sympathetic and supportive.
"Get it back," said one woman. "I hate waiting for my husband!"
Some are even a little envious.
"In keeping with equal rights, I want one for the girls washroom too," wrote one woman.
Although complaints about long waits for the biffy aren't new to MTS Centre officials, they say they don't have any plans to bring back the trough. Scott Brown, a spokesman for True North Sports And Entertainment, says officials are "comfortable" with the current urinals.
Arena officials constantly evaluate the capacity of facilities. Brown said the trough is probably not a viable option.
"We've had a number of conversations about (the washrooms). I don't know whether the trough is something that would be a serious discussion."