NHL back in Winnipeg!!!!
A deal has been reached to bring a National Hockey League team back to Winnipeg for the first time since 1996.
A deal to move the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers to the Manitoba capital has been announced at press conference at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.
As soon as the announcement was made by Mark Chipman, chairman of True North Sports and Entertainment Ltd., thousands of fans shouted, cheered, clapped and whistled at two party places in the city: the city’s famous intersection of Portage and Main, and The Forks marketplace.
“It’s a fantastic day for the city and I’m hoping, you know, for decades on, everybody will get to experience the NHL and the economic impact and the wonderful pride that comes with being a city that has the best of the best,” said Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz.
Added former Jets centreman Thomas Steen: “It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this joy, that’s for sure. Today, I’m just going to enjoy.”
Chipman cautioned the deal has been completed but must still receive NHL board of governors approval. That could come at a June 21 meeting.
David Thomson, co-owner of the new team, travelled to Winnipeg from Toronto on Tuesday morning, as did NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
True North has been in negotiations with Atlanta Spirit, the owners of the Thrashers, for a number of weeks.
Bettman said the ink is still drying as negotiations were still ongoing as of 4:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday.
Organizers said ticket prices will range from $39 to $129 per game, and a drive to sell 13,000 season tickets would start this week.