Well that didn't take long.
At the news conference to announce the purchase and relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, the ownership group detailed a plan to reach 13,000 season-ticket sales to help solidify the deal and prove to the NHL Manitoba was ready to host big-league hockey again.
With some tickets already gone in the presale, there were some 9,000 tickets left to go when the sale went public on Saturday. In just 17 minutes later, the goal was reached, 13,000 season-ticket holders just like that with 7,000 more being placed on a waiting list.
"We would like to take a special moment to thank all of our fans in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Canada for their support over the past week — in particular, the overwhelming response of our fans which has resulted in a successful 'Drive to 13,000' campaign," said Jim Ludlow, president & CEO of True North Sports & Entertainment. "The success of the campaign is a key ingredient to ensuring the sustainability and long-term viability of NHL hockey in this province."
"While I had no doubt the 'Drive to 13,000' would reach its destination, the remarkable speed at which it got there certifies the fans' hunger for NHL hockey and their commitment to True North's initiatives," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.
Yea, I'd say they're pretty psyched to have the NHL back.
The next thing everybody wants to know is what will the team name be? The ownership group said that wouldn't be announced until the 13,000 mark was reached. The sentimental pick is clearly the Jets, but there are some other good options out there. My personal favorite that I've seen out in the Twittersphere was the Winnipeg Phoenix. So fitting.
-- Brian Stubits