As of this morning True North Sports and Entertainment have purchased the Atlanta Thrashers with the intention of moving them to the Manitoba capital of Winnipeg for play next season. The deal was finalized early this morning as the Thrashers lawyers were going over all the details before signing in time for today’s announcement.
Obviously the emotions poured out into the streets in Winnipeg today as the announcement was made and broadcasted at the Forks in Winnipeg with thousands of fans in the streets just waiting to hear the NHL say ‘yes the deal is done’ The party continues as I’m typing this and will continue all day and night.
It appears that the purchase price was indeed $170M with $60M of that going to the NHL as a relocation fee. The deal is subject to BoG approval June 21st, and TNSE has begun their season ticket campaign to ensure the BoG’s blessing on that.
The process for purchasing season tickets for the Winnipeg franchise will take place online at www.driveto13.com the goal has been set by TNSE to reach 13,000 season tickets sold before the 21st. Starting Wednesday – Friday season ticket and mini pack holders of the Manitoba Moose will get first priority for NHL tickets as well as corporate Winnipeg. On Saturday season tickets will go on sale to the general public through the same website.
The prices for season tickets are extremely reasonable with price per game packages ranging from $39-$129 per game. Season ticket holders will be required to place a deposit of $500-$1000 down for their seats. There is also a limit of 4 seats per account. It is expected that walk up sales will be about 40% higher in price and obviously there will be very few tickets available.
As for the team name it has not been decided or released as of yet. It however is expected to be announced in the next 7-10 days. Obviously retaining the name Winnipeg Jets has the support of the masses but do not be too surprised if the team is named one of Manitoba Moose, Manitoba Falcons, or Manitoba Polar Bears. I’m going to take a guess that it may be the Manitoba Jets.
The first order of business for the new Winnipeg franchise will be to talk to and make decisions about the current coaching staff and management of the team. I do not expect Don Waddell to be brought to Winnipeg but I would think that Gm Rick Dudley and head coach Craig Ramsay will be retained. It will be a whirlwind for everyone as TNSE has not been legally allowed to talk to any of the staff until the deal was official.
The Winnipeg/Manitoba Jets/Moose/Falcons/Polar Bears will play next season in the South East division of the Eastern Conference as the deal was made too late in the year to have a full relocation plan ready for next season. After 2011/12 the team will be moved back to the Western Conference. The rest of realignment will be up in the air as teams try to push their own agendas for swapping divisions. Also if the Coyotes situation is not settled where they potentially get relocated to could affect things as well.
Congratulations to the city of Winnipeg and TNSE! Now it is up to the fans to prove the doubters wrong and sell out the MTS Centre on a nightly basis! Of that I have no doubt. Welcome back to the NHL!
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About the Author
Written by Shane Hoopfer
Die hard Flames fan since 1980, and a closet baseball junkie. Also a big Dolphins, and Stampeders fan!