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

Since: Sep 22, 2007
Posted on: June 1, 2011 12:23 am

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

Time to recognize that Atlanta is not a big league hocky city.  First Calgary and now Winnepeg.   Of course, the problem with the Flames started the moment they hired an annoucer.  Who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to hire an announcer who was not familiar with the sport.  I was there and the idea of the announcer learning with the fans was nuts.  That's probably one reason why the fans didn't take to it.  As pointed out, Winnepeg will probably be without a team again in ten years.  You either support them or you don't.

Since: Feb 7, 2007
Posted on: June 1, 2011 12:12 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Sep 23, 2008
Posted on: June 1, 2011 12:06 am

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

so what does the NHL do with the divisions now?  I say move Nashville to the Southeast and I guess Winnepeg to Central or even Northwest?  Actually I'd love to see contraction in the NHL... so many "un"worthy franchises in warm weather cities... PHX, Florida, Carolina, Nashville, Columbus

Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:36 pm

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

"Atlnata" has never had a NHL team.  In fact, I can't even locate it on the map...oh wait, it's here on my dollar store map.

"Tharshers" has never been a NHL team nickname either.

Poor Hockey gets no respect, not even a cursory spellcheck during a team's eulogy.

It'll be nice to feel like a kid again; having a team in Winnipeg to cheer for, provided their jerseys are neat and they have a rad mascot.  I'm not from Winnipeg so I need the extras to work for me before I become a fan. 

Since: Jan 20, 2009
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:28 pm

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

I really hope the new Winnipeg franchise will be allowed to have the "Jets" nickname.  Heck, if the Cleveland can bring back the Browns, Winnipeg should make a deal with Phoenix and regain the Jets. Plus, Atlanta is not a hockey town.  Does Atlanta have a big population base? Yes.  But are they a hockey town? No. The city has lost not one but two NHL franchises.  I do not think Atlanta will ever have a third NHL team.  That would be a bad move for the NHL.

Since: Jul 5, 2009
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:28 pm

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

'Well, we would have come if they were winning.'  'It's the GM's fault'.  Congratulations for confirming what the rest of the country already knows.  Look in the thesaurus under 'Bandwagon' and one of the first listings you'll see is 'Atlanta Professional Sports Fan'.  It's true with the Thrashers.  It's true with the Hawks.  It's true with the Braves and the Falcons. 

Edmonton was the worst team in the NHL this year.  Their population is 1/5th that of Atlanta.  How'd they draw?  16,839.  41 openings.  41 sellouts.  Ottawa?  Worse than the Thrashers.  Again, 1/5th the population.  Attendance?  18,378.  99.3% of capacity, in a building inconvenient to everything.  Toronto?  Haven't made the playoffs since before the lockout.  Have been SRO forever.  19,000+ attendance.  Calgary?  Same thing.  No playoffs.  41 sellouts.

Thank you, Gary for allowing this move to go through.  Thank you for beginning to acknowledge that moving NHL teams out of Canada and into the South was, is, and always will be, a fiasco.  Congratulations Winnipeg on getting your team back, whether they be the Jets or not.  Quebec, be patient.  You're next.


Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:19 pm

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

another thing the weasel fails to understand is that there will be no huge tv network deal for the leauge no matter how many areas of the country have a hockey team the rastings for hockey are too small to support anything other than the miniscule pakage it has
Again, he already got the huge network deal last month. Apparently, that's not getting through.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:17 pm

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

What is that supposed to mean, it's just Hamilton?  When Hamiton joins the NHL(when Bettman leaves sanity will be restored) they will definitely be in the top 10 revenue producers ahead of Buffalo, Florida, Nashville, Phoenix plus many more.
Of course they'd be ahead of Buffalo. Buffalo wouldn't exist anymore if the NHL is ever dumb enough to move to Hamilton. Even Ron Joyce, the man who tried to get a franchise for Hamilton in 1990, now says anyone who thinks the NHL could work there needs to be on medication. That market can't support a team there.

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:10 pm

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

"Finally, regardless of attendence, Nashville is losing money and money takes priority over bums on seats."

LittleVoices if I didn't allready know for a fact that statments pure BS I'd ask you where you got your facts from. 

Considering it took me 5 whole mins to find out Nashville has been turning a profit since 2008.  I'm just gonna assume you must have something against Nashville for saying things like that before researching it.  That or you just wanted to sound smart, and ended up sounding like a idiot.  Either/or how about not trying to pass off random crap you make up as facts in the future.  Thanks!

Since: Oct 7, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:03 pm

It's official: Thrashers on way to Winnipeg

Give Hamilton a franchise, PLEASE! While you're at it Canada, could you come down here and scoop up the rest of these NHL teams and drag them up north of the border also where they belong. Thank you.

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