Blog Entry

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:32 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 6:11 am
 


NHL hockey is back in Winnipeg.

True North Sports and Entertainment completed a purchase of the Atlanta Thrashers early Tuesday morning and will move the franchise to Manitoba. The transaction still needs to be approved by the NHL Board of Governors, although that could come as early as their next meeting on June 21.

“As we have said repeatedly, we don’t like to move franchises,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a news conference at the MTS Center on Tuesday. “But sometimes we simply have no choice.”

Winnipeg lost the Jets to Phoenix in 1996. The Thrashers are the first NHL team to relocate since the Hartford Whalers moved to North Carolina in 1997. This is the second time Atlanta has lost an NHL franchise; the Flames moved to Calgary in 1980.

It's not clear yet what the team will be called. True North will pay $170 million to complete the transaction, which includes a $60 million relocation fee that is distributed among the other 29 franchise.

“A name has not been chosen,” said True North Chairman Mark Chipman “We know that subject is of great interest to the community, but we have not fully engaged it yet. It’s obviously one of the first orders of business that we will turn ourselves to now. We will do so very thoughtfully and should have some news on that in the very new future.” 

STUBITS: Who will move in realignment?

True North Sports president Jim Ludlow said the team aims to sell 13,000 tickets by the Board of Governors meeting in three weeks and introduced a website to take the orders. The base price for tickets range from $39 to $129 per game, comparable to ticket prices in Ottawa and Edmonton.

“I think it would be a good idea to tell the Board of Governors as quickly as possible that there is nothing to worry about here,” Bettman said. “The economics or running a franchise, particularly in this building and this market, require the support of having the predictability that season-ticket holders will give you.”

Chipman said while the 13,000-seat, season-ticket threshold hasn’t been imposed by the NHL, “it’s an objective we both think is necessary and achievable”

Thrashers co-owner Bruce Levenson said an agreement to sell and move the team isn’t ideal, but was the only path after an ownership group willing to keep the team in Atlanta could not be found.

“Our objective was always to find a solution to keep the team in Atlanta, and we spent a considerable amount of time, effort and resources trying to do so,” Levenson said in a news release. “This is not the outcome we wanted and it’s extremely disappointing that a buyer or significant investor did not come forward that would enable us to keep the team in Atlanta.”

Times are much different now -- not only for downtown Winnipeg, but the league --- than they were when the NHL left town.

“We were extraordinarily unhappy when we left in ’96,” Bettman said. “We had no choice. That’s why with the celebration here there is obviously regret what’s happening in Atlanta. To be able to come back to place we know loves NHL hockey (and) to be able to do it in a city that has changed, a collective-bargaining agreement that has leveled the playing surface, with this building and this ownership. These were factors that didn’t exist in ’96. To be able to come back and right a wrong is an extraordinary thing.”

A couple Tharshers players took to Twitter to thank Atlanta Tuesday afternoon. 

"Thanks again. I will miss the great people and city of Atlanta," wrote Thrashers left winger Evander Kane.

"Our time was short Atlanta but thanks to all the fans and their support," Thrasher right winger Blake Wheeler wrote.

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Associated Press
Comments

Since: Jul 2, 2009
Posted on: June 1, 2011 10:35 am
 

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

They lost the Rams and they lost the Raiders... Im not real sharp with math but I think that adds up to 2.



Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: June 1, 2011 10:33 am
 

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

LA only lost one team. They only gained the Raiders because Davis wanted more in Oakland, which he got, so he returned. 1.5 teams at the most, and that is a stretch.



Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: June 1, 2011 10:17 am
 

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

R.I.P. Atlanta Thrashers 1999-2011- You will be missed, not by many, but by me. 



Since: Jul 2, 2009
Posted on: June 1, 2011 10:06 am
 

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

Losing a team twice should be reason enough for a particular city to not receive an opportunity to get a team in that sport again.
Then LA is def not getting another NFL team then, right?



Since: Jul 13, 2010
Posted on: June 1, 2011 9:27 am
 

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

It's great to see a deserving city get back something that they should never have lost! The Jets never should have ben moved.
 Atlanta will not or should not again be considered for a hockey franchise. Losing a team twice should be reason enough for a particular city to not receive an opportunity to get a team in that sport again. Good luck Wiinipeg!!



Since: Nov 1, 2006
Posted on: June 1, 2011 9:24 am
 

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

@CanesCanesCanes....

It's a completely differenent situtation. When the original Browns left Cleveland for Baltimore, part of their agreement with the NFL was that they leave the Browns name, colors, logos, history, etc, behind for a future expansion team. No such arrangement was a part of the original Jets moving to Phoenix, meaning the Coyotes (NHL) actually own the rights to the Jets name. I'm sure the new Winnipeg franchise could work out a deal with the league to obtain the name, if that's the direction the want to go.



Since: Jul 2, 2009
Posted on: June 1, 2011 8:07 am
 

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

I just hope they move into Minnesotas division.  Get Vancuver outta there and let us have the new Jets.



Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: June 1, 2011 5:24 am
 

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

Uhh Steve, Canadian teams is what the NHL needs more of. Just because Atlanta sold so many tickets doesn't mean people showed up. This isn't 1996. But I'd love to borrow that crystal ball to make some bets since you seem to know what is going to happen.You probably would have said the same thing about the Flames in 1981. The Oilers were disappointing last year, but guess what? 100% attenandance. Flames, 100%. Leafs, 102%. Canadiens, 100%. Canucks, 100%. Senaotrs, 99% Get your head out of your ass. Canadians show up to hockey games. Atlanta? Try 72%.



Since: Jun 16, 2009
Posted on: June 1, 2011 3:25 am
 

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

Winnipeg has deserved a team more than Atlanta or Phoenix.  The Coyotes get mostly weekend home games which make the visiting teams' road trips ridiculous.  Nobody goes to the Coyotes games to watch PHX it is mostly the visiting teams fans, which makes the locals upset and bitter.  The officiating at Yotes home games were bordering on ridiculous, there is no reason that team deserved to be in the playoffs.  Doan is such a leader he vowed not to go with the team he captains to Winnipeg.  The country where he is from, such a leader.  Well at least the Thrashers players know where they are going, when the Yotes fold next year, the players will be picked up in a draft and have no choice on their destination.




Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: June 1, 2011 3:00 am
 

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

The players on the Thrashers will protest big time that they don't want to play in Winnipeg or Canada for that fact matter like the Coyotes players did by saying no way in hell would they go there. It won't work out at Winnipeg like it did before. Canada is taking the NHL down and that's for sure. Trust me the Thrashers are not a good team at all and you will see the Winnipeg people not support this team right from the start like they did with the Jets. Enjoy this Winnipeg and Canada because this will not last long at all.


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