Atlanta Thrashers sold to True North Sports and Entertainment, moving to Winnipeg
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Fifteen years after the Manitoba, Canada, an announcement on Tuesday made official what ice hockey fans have been anticipating: The 's (NHL) are moving to . The Thrashers, who have been a target for relocation rumors amid the ownership struggles and financial losses, will leave Atlanta after eleven seasons there in the highest-level professional ice hockey league in North America. The deal, which was finalized early in the morning Tuesday, has just one step to climb: a vote by the NHL's Board of Governors, which will take up the matter at their June 21 meeting.left the province of
National Basketball Association, as well as , the arena both teams occupied—completed the sale to Winnipeg investor group True North Sports & Entertainment Ltd. The Thrashers will move into their new home arena, in Winnipeg. ASG has also been trying to find buyers for the Atlanta Hawks as well as Philips Arena. NHL Commissioner , who also presided over the league when the Jets left Winnipeg in 1996, has stated the Thrashers will remain in the Southeast Division for at least the 2011-12 season, after which time the NHL is expected to shuffle teams between the Western and Eastern conferences to move the Thrashers to the West, to play with other teams in western North America. The two teams situated in the Western Conference which reside in the Eastern Time Zone, the and , as well as the are considered favorites to be moved into the Eastern Conference when this happens.. (ASG), who owned the Thrashers—and continues to own both the of the
The city of Winnipeg, which has been ready and waiting for an NHL franchise since the Jets relocated to Arizona and became the in 1996, is already host to a team in the second-tier , the . During the announcement Tuesday, True North stated that they were starting a season ticket drive. They also announced that they have yet to choose a name for the new team.,
The Thrashers are not the first franchise that True North has set its sights on in regards to acquiring an NHL team. The Coyotes, which have been owned by the league since the previous owners filed for bankruptcy in 2009, was highly sought-after by True North in the past few years in an attempt to literally "return the Jets to Winnipeg". In early May, the Glendale City Council approved a measure to pay $25 million to the league, to cover their operating expenses for the next year in order to keep the team in the city.
This is not the first time an NHL franchise has been relocated north of the border from the #8-ranked media market in the United States; in 1980, the Alberta, becoming the . Atlanta was later granted an expansion franchise in 1997, and the Thrashers took the ice to start the 1999-00 NHL season. In the 11 seasons the Thrashers spent in Atlanta, they made the playoffs only once; in the 2006-07 season, they reached the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, where they were swept in the best-of-seven series by the in four straight games.moved to ,
- Postmedia News. "NHL returns to Winnipeg with Thrashers purchase" — , May 31, 2011
- Tim Tucker. "It's official: Thrashers moving to Winnipeg" — , May 31, 2011
- Bob Condor. "Winnipeg group has deal to buy, move Thrashers" — , May 31, 2011
- Chris Vivlamore. "Updated: Talks continue with TNSE; no announcement Tuesday" — , May 23, 2011
- Atlanta Thrashers set for Winnipeg move" — , May 19, 2011. "
- Associated Press. "Coyotes to remain in Glendale next year" — , May 11, 2011
- Josh Kosman. "Atlanta's Sports Woes: Owner puts Hawks, Thrashers & arena up for sale" — , June 18, 2010