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Done Deal, Thrashers are moving to Winnipeg

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Going..going....

The Canadian Press

True North Sports and Entertainment has scheduled a news conference for noon ET at Winnipeg's MTS Centre to make "a significant community announcement.

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Anyone catch that they will be in the southeast for the upcoming season in the tsn article. They are waiting one season to realign. Talk about not cool

Edited by legend-1

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I'm thrilled to hear this announcement made official (pending approval). I think the team will do great and I wish them all the best. Welcome home.

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When realignment occurs, it'll most likely come down to Columbus and Nashville as they're geographically close and not nearly as established in the rivalries department as say a Philadelphia or New Jersey, which have a similar distance.

If Nashville is the one that moves to the SE, our division instantly becomes a whole lot tougher to win in as they are on a big upswing in talent and play a game that is difficult to match up against. Columbus would be much closer to the team the SE is losing on their overall level of play from season to season, so for that selfish reason alone, I'm going to hope it is the Blue Jackets we see SE bound.

It will be tough for us having to head to Winnipeg this coming season, but it's not as bad as some make it out to be as it is only about 1,700 miles between the two cities and we would only play 3 games up there. Hopefully the schedule makers have the sense to tack everyone's visits to and from Winnipeg for divisional play onto the beginning or end of the closer teams like MN or CHI, and as a way stop on the front of everyone's west coast swing. It's not like they are moving across the country.

I do feel bad for players that signed contract extensions with making a home in Atlanta in their mind. Winter in GA and winter north of Minneapolis and Fargo are two very different things.

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Here is the article from ESPN. Bettman attended the announcement.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=6610414

Quote from the article:

Winnipeg has been without NHL hockey since the Jets moved to Phoenix in 1996. The Thrashers entered the league three years later as an expansion franchise, but ownership problems, a losing team and dwindling attendance doomed the club. The team ranked 28th out of 30 teams this year with an average attendance of less than 14,000.

It remains to be seen whether the franchise will bring the Jets team name back into the league with Winnipeg's return. A source told LeBrun the name of the Winnipeg team is "still not determined." But the NHL will not realign its divisions for the 2011-12 season, meaning Winnipeg will play in the Southeast, a league source confirmed to LeBrun.

Edited by hopper915

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Anyone catch that they will be in the southeast for the upcoming season in the tsn article. They are waiting one season to realign. Talk about not cool

Yeah, no kidding. For the Canes, I hope they manage to get in some back to backs or maybe bookend the annual western road trip with a couple up there. Worse for 'peg though, playing all those eastern games is going to kill them for travel.

All I can say, to all Atlanta fans, if you are looking for a new team to pull for, we'd welcome you. But if you're done with the NHL, I could understand that, too.

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Being a longtime canes fan, I can say that it will be awesome being the only Red jersey in a sea of white!...

I live in Winnipeg, and all I can say is GO CANES!

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No one has mentioned the relative strength of the Canadian dollar (loonie) to the US dollar. Winnipeg and Quebec lost their teams to US cities when the Canadian dollar was weak (something like .65 to .75 USD, if I recall). Now the loonie is trading at or above par with the US dollar. When you are taking in loonies in revenue (ticket sales) and paying US dollars in salaries, a strong loonie helps a Canadian team be profitable. I expect Coyotes will move to somewhere in Canada next year for the same reason.

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Actually, I have heard the CND mentioned every time they talk about why Winnipeg will work now. But if anyone listened to Bettman, it really comes down to needing to have a committed owner in the market. If someone stepped up in Atlanta, they'd stay. If someone in Winnipeg was willing to accept unlimited losses, they would be set regardless of attendance or the CND. I hope they are not banking on the CND because that like everything financial is cyclical and it will go back down eventually.

For an interesting read, here's Jeff Schultz of the AJC ripping everyone in the process. I honestly don't understand all the vitriol aimed at Bettman but I am probably in the minority there.

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JLP I was just about to post that same article. What I was going to say though was not what the article is about, but rather the in-your-face, hahahaha, lol, comments by Winnipeg residents. And what I'm about does not reflect everyone from Canada but here goes.

It's comments like those that make me want to see the "holier-than thou" a-holes never see anything good happen to their team. Look, I understand they're happy and they have reason to be. But to celebrate in someone else's misfortune just is not right. This move may not seem like it will impact Atlanta economically, but it will in some ways. Just think of those who own Ice Rinks in the area, you think they will have an increase in business this upcoming winter? how about youth hockey programs, will they have an increase in players this fall?, or how about restaurants and transportation owners that get a lot of business from Thrasher fans, you think they'll be seeing an increase in profits in 2011-12?

Again, I know we have Canadian residents on this board, I am not directing this at you or all of your fellow countrymen. Just the ones who are literally laughing at Thrasher fans.

From Atlanta media.....

From FOX5 in Atlanta: http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/dpp/sports/Thrashers%27-Sale-Could-be-Complete-this-Week-20110531-ap-sd

NBC11: http://www.11alive.com/news/article/192798/40/Former-Thrashers-owner-employees-emotional-over-loss-of-team

WSB Channel2: http://www.wsbtv.com/sports/28080774/detail.html

CBSAtlanta: http://www.cbsatlanta.com/sports/28079593/detail.html

Edited by captain_jack88

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I'm a season ticket package customer of the Atlanta Spirit (I got tix for the Canes games) and I received this in my email inbox today:

May 31, 2011

Earlier today, we, along with our partners, signed an asset purchase agreement to sell the Atlanta Thrashers to True North Sports and Entertainment. If ratified by the NHL, Commissioner Bettman and the league's Board of Governors, this will result in the relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, Canada beginning with the 2011-2012 season.

It's extremely disappointing to all of us that it became necessary after all other options were exhausted. We want to express my gratitude to you, the fans, for the years of dedication you have offered to the Atlanta Thrashers.

As many of you know, for some time we have been seeking a buyer for the team or a partner willing to join with us in continuing to fund the team. We hired an investment banking firm to seek out potential investors with the express goal of finding someone who would keep the team here in Atlanta. In recent months, we openly indicated a growing urgency to secure assistance in off-setting our operating losses in hopes that our public plea would produce investors which, to that point, had eluded us.

After extensive effort, nobody has come forward. As a result, we had no choice but to explore the investment option presented to us by the NHL in the form of True North Sports and Entertainment.

Relocation of the Thrashers is not the outcome that any of us ultimately wanted. We knew when we purchased the club in 2004, that professional sports teams are seldom, if ever, money-making investments but rather vital community assets. We believed in the overall impact that the team had on the sports landscape of Atlanta, and over the past seven years, invested a significant amount of money into what we felt was an integral piece of the greater metropolitan Atlanta area. We are truly grateful to have been a part of this city's professional hockey history, to have made an indelible impact on the community through our players' outreach, our organization's activities and our foundation's donations, and most of all, to have been a part of paying tribute to you, our fans, each and every time our team stepped on the ice.

Thank you for the opportunity to be entertained, thrilled and inspired alongside you by Atlanta Thrashers hockey. None of this would have been possible without your support.

Sincerely,

Bruce Levenson and Michael Gearon

Booooooo!

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Get this: Winnipeg is still staying in the Southeastern division next season. Get ready for some long road trips for the boys...especially theirs!

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JLP I was just about to post that same article. What I was going to say though was not what the article is about, but rather the in-your-face, hahahaha, lol, comments by Winnipeg residents. And what I'm about does not reflect everyone from Canada but here goes.

Yeah, but dude...internet article/blog post comments? That's like walking through the sewer that the sewer people use as a sewer.

I am sure most who were there in 1996 remember the pain and wouldn't talk like that. The fact most of them would be over 30 also plays into that.

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I bet it feels like your heart being ripped out if you are a Thrasher fan. I hope I never have to go through that. This song by the Zamboni's kind of sums it up.

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Cane's Troy Bodie (a Manitoba native) comments about the new Winnipeg team:

Portage's Troy Bodie, of the Carolina Hurricanes, is also thrilled to see the world's top hockey league make its way back to Manitoba. He admitted being shocked that a division rival was on the move.

"I'm absolutely excited," said Bodie from Los Angeles where he is spending his offseason. "I was the biggest Jets fan in the world growing up and I was the saddest kid in the world to see them go.

"To see it's Atlanta coming, it was actually a shock, but nonetheless, we've got NHL back in Winnipeg. It's been 15 years, so I'm really excited."

Winnipeg fans can expect to see a fair bit of Bodie, as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed on Tuesday that Winnipeg will stay in the Southeast Division alongside Carolina, Washington, Tampa Bay and Florida this year.

Bodie, 26, played at the MTS Centre twice in his American Hockey League career, visiting in Nov. 2008 as a member of the Iowa Chops.

"To actually play NHL hockey there, being back in Winnipeg, it's a dream come true," said Bodie, who hopes that the team retains the Jets name.

Bodie said he would have liked the opportunity to play at the old Winnipeg Arena, as he spent quite a bit of time there. The Bodies had season tickets in the final 1995-96 Jets campaign.

"I'd get to a few every year," said Bodie. "The happiest days for me were when I was in there watching Jets games."

Bodie expressed regret that the Thrashers' fanbase was losing its team, but "if it's for them to come to Winnipeg, then I'll take it".

Bodie played in Atlanta three times, twice with Carolina and once with Anaheim. He said that, in the end, the numbers of fans just weren't there.

"It was pretty quiet in that arena," said Bodie. "There wasn't a whole lot of atmosphere there.

"I shouldn't say that the support wasn't there because they love their team, and I'd never want to take that away from them. but there just weren't a lot of bodies in the seats."

Full article here

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Cane's Troy Bodie (a Manitoba native) comments about the new Winnipeg team:

"I shouldn't say that the support wasn't there because they love their team, and I'd never want to take that away from them. but there just weren't a lot of bodies in the seats."

In 2010/11, the Atlanta Thrashers averaged 13,469 per game.

The hockey-mad diehard Winnipeg Jets faithful during their final 7 seasons..

89/90: 13,106

90/91: 12,931

91/92: 12,931

92/93: 13,550

93/94: 13,297

94/95: 13,013

95/96: 11,316

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What I think is so funny about the anti-expansion and anti-southern hockey people, is they seem to forget the league started with only 6 teams. A 6 team league would not survive in today's sports juggernaut. There are more Canadian teams now then they started with, Toronto and Montreal were the first two. Could you wittle a few teams away, sure you probably could.. but no Philly? No Pittsburgh? No Washington? No Vancouver? If you wanted to hand pick a league of say, 12 teams in the Northeast and Midwest - NY, NJ, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Philly, Pittsburgh, Eastern Canada etc.. would the league be as popular as it is now? No way.

Tampa certainly doesn't have anything to worry about. They came up short this year, but with the talent on that team and a phenomenal young coach in Guy Boucher they will hoist the cup again in a couple of years.

Washington obviously would not be going anywhere, with Ovechtrick and several nasty rivalries between Boston and Pittsburgh.

Carolina is welded to the Raleigh soil and nothing is ever going to change that. A loud and proud and loyal fanbase, which All Star weekend only proved further, plus our name on the Grail.

Florida might be troublesome.. I don't think they draw much of a crowd, but they hold their own and have had talented teams in the past.

I was thinking along the same lines as Hopper, makes the minimum amount of moves, although they keep saying Columbus will come over, so they will figure out a way to screw that up and move 10 teams when they don't have to. And the talk of leaving Manitoba/Winnipeg in the Southeast for a year is ridiculous. The NHL has already said they want to make it "hurt" for the Atlanta Spirit, but are they trying to punish True North as well by making them pay 5 times as much in travel costs as any other team in the league? I know the schedules have to be worked out years in advance, but isn't that what you have schedule makers for? They can figure it out.

Actually the NHL started in 1918 with 4 teams, all in Canada, Montreal Canadians, Toronto Arenas (who became the St Patricks then the Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Wanderers) first American team was the Boston Bruins in 1926, the "original six" were really the survivors of the Depression and 2nd World War.

In 2010/11, the Atlanta Thrashers averaged 13,469 per game.

The hockey-mad diehard Winnipeg Jets faithful during their final 7 seasons..

89/90: 13,106

90/91: 12,931

91/92: 12,931

92/93: 13,550

93/94: 13,297

94/95: 13,013

95/96: 11,316

The Arena only seated about 14000 (if that) the 15000 for the playoffs was standing room jammed in like sardines, when the game ended the arena looked like a circus act where 30 clowns pile out of a VW Beetle :coollaugh:

Edited by Wolfman_Jack

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Actually the NHL started in 1918 with 4 teams, all in Canada, Montreal Canadians, Toronto Arenas (who became the St Patricks then the Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Wanderers) first American team was the Boston Bruins in 1926, the "original six" were really the survivors of the Depression and 2nd World War.

The Arena only seated about 14000 (if that) the 15000 for the playoffs was standing room jammed in like sardines, when the game ended the arena looked like a circus act where 30 clowns pile out of a VW Beetle :coollaugh:

Well forgive me for not dredging all the way back into absolute ancient history. The point is still valid. Wittle the league down to four teams and see how long it lasts. It would draw about as many people as arena football as two teams just passed the cup back and forth.

Atlanta had a very good team talent wise, look at what they did by poaching the Blackhawks. However they had an ownership group who was trying to dump the team and didn't give a flip about anything except losing more money to throw a bigger pity party. Hopefully this will have a Pegula like effect on the team with owners who actually give a snot.

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Well forgive me for not dredging all the way back into absolute ancient history. The point is still valid. Wittle the league down to four teams and see how long it lasts. It would draw about as many people as arena football as two teams just passed the cup back and forth.

Atlanta had a very good team talent wise, look at what they did by poaching the Blackhawks. However they had an ownership group who was trying to dump the team and didn't give a flip about anything except losing more money to throw a bigger pity party. Hopefully this will have a Pegula like effect on the team with owners who actually give a snot.

No need to be rude and sarcastic I was just pointing out how the term "original six" is not really accurate.

Edited by Wolfman_Jack

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I supposes as long as there are two nations with different currencies involved you could see a yo-yo of teams relocating back and forth over time. My take on the southern strategy is that it can be successful in areas where younger northerners relocate and raise families who become the next generation of hockey fans. This seems to be working in Raleigh. Atlanta seems like it ought to have worked, but apparently the ownership/management was not up to the task. I think Florida and Phoenix are too retiree heavy to be truly successful over the long haul.

Actually, I have heard the CND mentioned every time they talk about why Winnipeg will work now. But if anyone listened to Bettman, it really comes down to needing to have a committed owner in the market. If someone stepped up in Atlanta, they'd stay. If someone in Winnipeg was willing to accept unlimited losses, they would be set regardless of attendance or the CND. I hope they are not banking on the CND because that like everything financial is cyclical and it will go back down eventually.

For an interesting read, here's Jeff Schultz of the AJC ripping everyone in the process. I honestly don't understand all the vitriol aimed at Bettman but I am probably in the minority there.

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Having been here, done this...I have no pity for a city that didn't care about its team until it was going to be taken away when cities have wanted to keep their teams, and shown it, and still had them ripped out from underneath them.

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the travel stress on the &moved-team-name. will be horendous. they have to visit all the other teams in the SE conference three times and the other teams in the Eastern Conference twice. hope there are few back-to-backs between Winipeg and the Kitty-kats

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Did anyone see this move coming? and what will this do to everyones schedule...will they base everyones schedule on their travel...

Edited by Pkling40

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Did anyone see this move coming? and what will this do to everyones schedule...will they base everyones schedule on their travel...

That is a good question. if someone did see it coming they didn't seem to think it through. The peg will have the worst of the travel but it sure is going to make the entire southeast pay in travel time. I hope they figure out a way to eliminate back to backs when playing the peg on the road.

I thought the best solution would have been to move Nashville to the southeast with what would have been Atlanta's schedule and let Winnipeg play in Nashville's central division slot for one year until realignment. The travel isn't fair for southeast teams fighting for a playoff spot. Then again when has the league ever worried about the southeast division.

Edited by OBXer

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What would be smart is a one-season schedule flip between Nashville and Winnipeg, as Winnepeg is MUCH closer to that conference and will likely be its future home and Nashville will likely flip to the Southeast.

A quick-flip would make it much easier on all the teams w/ little issue. Neither has to share with another sports tenant, like a basketball team.

If they are already thinking of doing that and announce it after the Cup games, I wouldn't be surprised.

I thought the best solution would have been to move Nashville to the southeast with what would have been Atlanta's schedule and let Winnipeg play in Nashville's central division slot for one year until realignment. The travel isn't fair for southeast teams fighting for a playoff spot. Then again when has the league ever worried about the southeast division.

You know . . .

I shoulda read the WHOLE post before commenting.

Do'h!

Go idea, though.

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