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Atlanta Thrashers set for Winnipeg move
STEPHEN BRUNT
Globe and Mail Update
Published Thursday, May. 19, 2011 8:57PM EDT
Last updated Friday, May. 20, 2011 8:55PM EDT

An agreement to sell the National Hockey League’s Atlanta Thrashers to a Winnipeg group which plans to relocate the franchise to the Manitoba capital is done.

Sources confirmed Thursday night that preparations are being made for an announcement Tuesday, confirming the sale and transfer of the Thrashers to True North Sports and Entertainment, which owns and operates the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League and the MTS Centre arena, which would become the NHL team’s new home.

Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the National Hockey League, is expected to travel to Winnipeg to make the news official.

The announcement would end months of speculation about whether one of the NHL’s financially-troubled American sunbelt teams might move north, filling the void left when the Winnipeg Jets packed up and left for Phoenix in 1996, where they became the Coyotes.

Much of the talk this spring had centred on that failing franchise, which was bought by the league after being placed in bankruptcy by its former owner Jerry Moyes in 2009.

But sources in Winnipeg suggest that the Thrashers had in fact been the primary target of potential owners Mark Chipman and David Thomson all along, and that some months back, the NHL board of governors quietly approved the sale and transfer of the team, pending the negotiation of a purchase agreement between Atlanta Spirit LLC, the Thrashers’ owners, and True North.

In the meantime, no potential owner materialized who was prepared to keep the team in Georgia, and local governments there showed no interest in propping up the Thrashers.

“There seems to be a consensus there is going to be a team in Winnpeg,” former major league pitcher Tom Glavine, who had tried unsuccessfully to find new ownership for the hockey team in Atlanta, acknowledged last week. ““The question is who, and unfortunately the bullseye seems to be on the Thrashers’ back.”

When it appeared this spring that the Coyotes might also be in play, after a deal to sell the team to Matthew Hulsizer underwritten by a municipal bond issue fell apart in the face of political opposition from the Goldwater Institute, the Winnipeg group sought to take advantage of what suddenly seemed a buyers’ market, with two teams available and no other potential owners or relocations sites on the horizon.

After the City of Glendale agreed to cover $25-million of the Coyotes losses for the 2011-2012 season, and the NHL opted to operate the club in Arizona for at least one more year, True North’s full focus returned to Atlanta, and a deal was hammered out this week.

Even before those final negotiations took place, the potential Winnipeg owners concluded an agreement with the Manitoba government which will allow revenues from a sports bar with slot machine to be used for improvements to the arena, and to be used towards the debt service on the building.

That’s consistent with what Manitoba premier Greg Selinger told reporters earlier this week, when he said that the provincial government had no interest in subsidizing an NHL team, but that the province had financially supported the renovation of the MTS Centre in the past, and would continue to be willing to do so.
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As it should be - considering how hockey mad canadians are, there really should be more NHL teams in Canada

Of course, I'm a fan of one of those warm weather teams :lol:
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=D> =D> =D> =D> =D>

Now move the Panthers and/or Coyotes up there as well!
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Gotta feel bad for fans in Atlanta, but Winnipeg is absolutely buzzing right now.

Never thought I'd see the return of the Jets. (even if they don't name them the Jets, they'll still be known as the Jets)
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HawkFanInWinnipeg wrote:Gotta feel bad for fans in Atlanta, but Winnipeg is absolutely buzzing right now.

Never thought I'd see the return of the Jets. (even if they don't name them the Jets, they'll still be known as the Jets)

Actually I don't think you do have to feel bad for Atlanta, they won't miss them. I bet 70% of the city has never even watched a Thrashers game on TV :lol:

I have a buddy in Phoenix who says people barely pay attention to the Coyotes there. I would assume Atlanta is much the same
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vikes_fan_4_life! wrote:
HawkFanInWinnipeg wrote:Gotta feel bad for fans in Atlanta, but Winnipeg is absolutely buzzing right now.

Never thought I'd see the return of the Jets. (even if they don't name them the Jets, they'll still be known as the Jets)

Actually I don't think you do have to feel bad for Atlanta, they won't miss them. I bet 70% of the city has never even watched a Thrashers game on TV :lol:

I have a buddy in Phoenix who says people barely pay attention to the Coyotes there. I would assume Atlanta is much the same


Hey, I know... I'm just trying to be a classy victor here. :D

Atlanta had a rally of about 300 people to save the thrashers last weekend. In '95 we had 35k at a rally, and the people raised something like 17 million to try to help save the Jets. Hockey is just bigger in this region (as you too would know in MN).

Speaking of the Coyotes, it'll get crazy when they come to town. That'll probably be our first big rivalry... until they move to Quebec.
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this is awesome! Glad to see the jets back... now we need to get the whale back and all will be good again!
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Budmonsan wrote:this is awesome! Glad to see the jets back... now we need to get the whale back and all will be good again!


Now, now, let's not get crazy. :D
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Cool, much closer for me to go to a game than Minneapolis.
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As an Atlanta Hockey fan and season ticket holder for the Atlanta Thrashers this blows.

Br happy if you like, but many here are very upset about this move. This had nothing to do with lack of support from atlanta's fans but had to do with an ownership group not wanting the team and the NHL needing money to prop up PHX.
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bohern wrote:As an Atlanta Hockey fan and season ticket holder for the Atlanta Thrashers this blows.

Br happy if you like, but many here are very upset about this move. This had nothing to do with lack of support from atlanta's fans but had to do with an ownership group not wanting the team and the NHL needing money to prop up PHX.


While I feel for you as a fan, I don't think what you say is really true. According to this they are in the bottom 3 for attendance this past:

http://espn.go.com/nhl/attendance

I had a friend who was visiting another friend in Atlanta and wanted to go to a game. When they called and said they have 2 tickets, but now need 4 they were given the 2 extra free. With that kind of desperation to fill seats it's hard to imagine they could recover their expenses let alone make money.

The whole Phoenix thing is another issue. They seem so desperate to keep a team in that market, other then the TV market I can't understand why.
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sport.nut wrote:
bohern wrote:As an Atlanta Hockey fan and season ticket holder for the Atlanta Thrashers this blows.

Br happy if you like, but many here are very upset about this move. This had nothing to do with lack of support from atlanta's fans but had to do with an ownership group not wanting the team and the NHL needing money to prop up PHX.


While I feel for you as a fan, I don't think what you say is really true. According to this they are in the bottom 3 for attendance this past:

http://espn.go.com/nhl/attendance

I had a friend who was visiting another friend in Atlanta and wanted to go to a game. When they called and said they have 2 tickets, but now need 4 they were given the 2 extra free. With that kind of desperation to fill seats it's hard to imagine they could recover their expenses let alone make money.

The whole Phoenix thing is another issue. They seem so desperate to keep a team in that market, other then the TV market I can't understand why.


did you look at the NHL attendance when the team was good? let me guess NO. We out drew storied Hockey towns such as Boston and Chicago in those years.

http://espn.go.com/nhl/attendance/_/year/2007

We were not last in attendance when the owners actually acted like they cared and put a decent product on the ice. Before Chicago won the cup, the year before they were towards the bottom rung. It was not until they started winning before they started getting sell outs.

As far the argument on weather the team could make money or not, The team made money the first few years in existence. But when corporate sponsors get word you are looking to move the team, why would they invest? It was the corp sponsors that helped this team or any team make money in the NHL unless you are charging big $$ for tix.

ASG, ran off all of the sponsors for the team and the bruntload of carrying the team was put on the fanbase. Many tams are losing $$ even good drawing teams. Atlanta is a viable market for Hockey, they just need owners who care and willing to put out a decent product.

so I will disagree with you.
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bohern wrote:did you look at the NHL attendance when the team was good? let me guess NO. We out drew storied Hockey towns such as Boston and Chicago in those years.

http://espn.go.com/nhl/attendance/_/year/2007



Actually I did, I just was pointing out the most recent attendance. When a team wins a lot the numbers in the seats is more to do with hype then fans in the seats. In a year when your team finished 1st in their conference you had an attendance that was under 90% and ranked 21st overall in the league. That doesn't speak of having a strong fan base.
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sport.nut wrote:
bohern wrote:did you look at the NHL attendance when the team was good? let me guess NO. We out drew storied Hockey towns such as Boston and Chicago in those years.

http://espn.go.com/nhl/attendance/_/year/2007



Actually I did, I just was pointing out the most recent attendance. When a team wins a lot the numbers in the seats is more to do with hype then fans in the seats. In a year when your team finished 1st in their conference you had an attendance that was under 90% and ranked 21st overall in the league. That doesn't speak of having a strong fan base.


This team basically did nothing for 11yrs except one playoff berth with no wins to show for it. considering their 11yr run of mediocrity I say they did pretty good drawing what they did. If you look at other franchies such as Chicago and Boston, when their team sucked they did not go to the games. Does that mean they do not have a strong fan base? But yet when they were a playoff team and consitnet winner people came out to the games, but yet when they didn't win people did not show.

So using that comparison I can't see how someone could say there is not a stong fanbase here. We are no different than any other town in the US. If you put out a crappy product ppl do not show in big numbers. But yet the Atlanta team still drew well despite sucking for as long as they did.

See video below for a better explanation. Just so you know the whole story.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_dSIvoQ ... r_embedded

The real point I am making here is this had nothing to do with attendance. It had all to to do with the NHL needing / wanting 60 million bucks and owners who wanted to sell a hockey team they never wanted in the first place.
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bohern wrote:As an Atlanta Hockey fan and season ticket holder for the Atlanta Thrashers this blows.

Br happy if you like, but many here are very upset about this move. This had nothing to do with lack of support from atlanta's fans but had to do with an ownership group not wanting the team and the NHL needing money to prop up PHX.


who are you?
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