Blog Entry

No deal in place yet to sell, move Thrashers

Posted on: May 19, 2011 10:42 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2011 3:25 am

The Thrashers aren’t headed to Winnipeg -- at least just yet.

Multiple sources told Thursday night a report that a deal is in place to sell and move Atlanta’s NHL franchise to Winnipeg is at best premature. One source with knowledge of the negotiations said talks between Thrashers ownership group, Atlanta Spirit, and Winnipeg’s True North Sports and Entertainment have progressed, but not to the point where both sides had an agreement in place.

The Globe and Mail reported that an agreement had been reached by the two sides Thursday. Winnipeg --- which lost the Jets to Phoenix in 1996 --- would again be home to NHL hockey. The newspaper reported that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman “is expected to travel to Winnipeg to make the news official.”

Scott Brown, a spokesman for True North, said in an e-mail that the report "is not accurate."

The Thrashers, however, remain on the block and it doesn’t look like a viable ownership group willing to keep the team in Atlanta has emerged. Atlanta Spirit and True North have been in talks for several days and it looks like the Winnipeg group looks to be the frontrunner.

True North had sought to acquire the Phoenix Coyotes, but Glendale (Ariz.) officials opted to pay the league as much as $25 million to cover the operating costs for the 2011-12 season. The group’s attention then reportedly turned to the Thrashers.

Bettman said in a radio interview Wednesday that he was “not aware” of any imminent deal to sell the Thrashers.

"There has been so much speculation,” Bettman said during the first intermission of Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on TEAM 1040-AM on Wednesday night. “How many people in your line of work were reporting the Coyotes were going to Winnipeg? Where is that coming from? It’s made up. It didn’t happen. The minute the Coyotes made it clear it clear they’re staying, we’re on to Atlanta.”

On his weekly radio show Thursday night, The Associated Press reports Bettman reiterated no deal has been made to move the Thrashers to Winnipeg, saying "I can tell you that with certainty."

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 1:41 pm
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Since: Jan 3, 2010
Posted on: May 22, 2011 7:22 pm

No deal in place yet to sell, move Thrashers

So, Winnipeg is buying Ottawa team?

Since: May 17, 2011
Posted on: May 22, 2011 7:05 pm
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Since: Jan 3, 2010
Posted on: May 22, 2011 6:16 pm

No deal in place yet to sell, move Thrashers

Any rumor that since Bettman and NHL are pressuring the Atlanta Spirit Group to pay the NHL an additional sum ($15M-20M) for added relocation fee, the Spirit now have opened new discussions with a buyer to purchase team for $100M and keep in Atlanta?

Since: Jul 26, 2007
Posted on: May 22, 2011 12:30 pm

No deal in place yet to sell, move Thrashers

The body language of the players and the near-empty upper deck tell you what you need to know.  Atlanta proves once again that while it's a great city, it simply doesn't support professional sports teams as a city of its size ought to.  Remember all those empty seats for Braves PLAYOFF games? 

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: May 20, 2011 11:39 pm

No deal in place yet to sell, move Thrashers

If they do move please don't call the m the JETS...that should be only for if Phoenix moves back.  Plus if the do move back throw Detroit in the east and do the division shuffle.  I think the Islanders should head to the southeast since they and the caps were long time rivals.  Colorado or winnipeg or Minnesota could be in the central detroit and pittsburgh move to the northeast and montreal and ottawa to the atlantic.  just thinking
prayers go out to the boogard family

Since: Mar 25, 2008
Posted on: May 20, 2011 9:00 pm

No deal in place yet to sell, move Thrashers

Nothing like some good old Canadian nostaglia, eh?  While it would be nice to have a team in that pocket-sized arena up in Winnipeg, the bottom line is that nobody would want to go see a team that has been awful their entire relatively-short existence, so you can't really blame the people of Atlanta.  The attend
ence issues are mostly a result of a terrible, awful, and disgusting ownership regime.  It is all just a very sad situation, where the faithful fans (regardless of how many there are) never really got a return on their investment of time and money, and are now being dismissed as irrelevant by the fans in Winnipeg (who I must admit, are very good at organizing web-sites complaining about the injustice done to them in the 90's and raking up all the Canadian hockey-nationalism they can muster.)  I'm sure the franchise would do decently in Winnipeg, but I feel the worst for the Atlanta hockey faithful, who are most likely about to have their hearts ripped out for a second time by a town far away and north of the border. 

Since: Dec 2, 2009
Posted on: May 20, 2011 5:10 pm

No deal in place yet to sell, move Thrashers

The problem with the Thrasher's is not a question of if they deserve a team. The problem is for the better part of there existance the have had owner's who main focus was to make money any way the could. The let a General manager stay who had no business being around for all the awful trades this man made. They sank no money in free agent's and the money they put in was to player's who were over the hill looking for that last one payday. The owner's have done nothing with ticket's to bring in new fan's and have just sucked from the get go.

The state of the franchise can be shown in the progress they have made in the last 2 year's since Rick Dudley has been there. I know they did not make the playoff's this year but if you look at there overall talent it is on par with the rest of the NHL. They have had a good last few draft's with Bogosian and Kane...Burmistrov showed good promise in his first season and they have a fair amount of cap room to work with.. Free agent's will not come here if they feel they have no chance at winning. That is why Kovalchuk left..same for Hossa and same for Heatley among other thing's.

If we can get another owner that cared about the team...Arthur Blank orTed Turner or Tom Glavines group..where are you this team could be succesful. I know people say Atlanta has no fan's however if you look at the stat's. They averaged 13000 fan's a game with a team that SUCKED..imagine what the would draw with a good team...I know you say we have no hockey fan's down South..But we have a Population that is Transient to the South. Which mean's we have a ton of people who love hockey that have moved down here but will not support a bad team..I have grown up in Minnesota..a hockey hot bed..for all my life..and then moved down here. I love hockey with all my heart and so do alot of other people. However we will not support a team that suck's and is going to lose all the time..

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: May 20, 2011 4:23 pm

No deal in place yet to sell, move Thrashers

Atlanta is, was and will never be an NHL city. The Flames failed and so have the Thrashers. Give Wiinepeg a team and it should be Atlanta's. They don't deserve an NHL franchise.

While we are at it, give Hamilton one as well. Move the Florida Panthers. No one in S.Florida cares about hockey. They don't even care about baseball.

Canada deserves 2 more franchises. They lost Winnepeg and Quebec. It's their sport and they love it like we love football. It's unfair they have cities that would embrace the sport, while we have cities where they could care less. The NHL commissioner is an arseclown.

Since: Jan 19, 2008
Posted on: May 20, 2011 12:25 pm

No deal in place yet to sell, move Thrashers

First of all, love Bettman. He gets a bad rap, but he's a brilliant businessman and the leauge is MUCH better off from when he took over to where it is now. They have a network TV deal with NBC; have their own channel in the NHL Network and by going to VS over ESPN, they have a station that will dedicate all their time and energy to the sport instead of ESPN glossing over it here and there while they play endless hours of poker and breaking down every single play in the Clippers-Bucks game from early January. He knows they'll always be the fourth sport in this country and he doesn't try to break into the top three...just continues to make it the best fourth sport he can.

Second, get a team in Winnipeg immediately!! Hockey hotbed, deserving fans, solid ownership...three things which do not apply to Atlanta. I'm sure there are some diehards in Atlanta, but bottom line is outside of college football and NASCAR, no one cares about sports down there. The Falcons sell out...when they're a top 2 NFC team; the Braves couldn't sell out playoff games and frankly, I thought the Hawks relocated to some nominal midwestern town until I saw them in the 2nd round this year against the Bulls. 

Third, with regards to divisional alignment, the easiest thing to do is put Nashville in the South with Washington/Tampa/Florida/Carolina; Minnesota moves to the Central with Detroit/Chicago/Columbus/St.Louis and Winnipeg takes the opening in the Northwest to make a 4/5 Canadian division with Edmonton/Calgary/Vancouver/Colorado

. Problem is the NHL promised any future realignment would involve Detroit moving to the Eastern Conference. They should probably wait one more year on a major realignment until they figure out where Phoenix is going in 2012-13.

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