Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Welcome back to the NHL, Winnipeg!

And RIP Atlanta Thrashers: Thrashers sold to Winnipeg group.  Well done, True North Sports and Entertainment!

For a while it looked like the Phoenix Coyotes - the original Winnipeg Jets  - would return to their Manitoba roots, but that was circumvented when the Glendale (AZ) City Council ponied up the necessary support to keep the Dogs in the Desert for at least one more season.

As much as everyone would love to see the team adopt the old Jets name, the rights to it (along with franchise records) may be held by the Coyotes organization.  It would be wonderful for Winnipeg fans if the name could return.

From Rich Hammond (L.A. Kings Insider):
The rumors were finally put to rest this morning when the group known as True North Sports and Entertainment announced that is has purchased the Atlanta Thrashers and intends to move the organ-eye-zation to Winnipeg...

As for Atlanta, well, it’s difficult to be surprised. I only made it down there for one NHL game, in 2009, and I’ll always remember going to a nearby sports bar with the broadcast crew the night before the game. The Thrashers were playing in New York that night, and we asked the waiter if he would turn on the hockey game. His response? “Which game?”
I always feel awful for the fans when a team leaves town, but if this is in any way indicative of Atlanta's non-enthusiasm for the Thrashers, then they needed to move.  And this isn't even Atlanta's first NHL team to bolt town - the Calgary Flames began life as the Atlanta Flames.  Some cities just aren't hockey towns and Atlanta is definitely not a hockey town.  It is also apparently a very inept hockey town: The Thrashers were still selling season tickets for 2011-12 a mere hour before the Winnipeg announcement.

So welcome back Winnipeg fans!  Our only question now is does the huge, hideous portrait of the Queen also make a return?  Don't laugh, it may happen!  Which would be awesome, really seriously awesome.

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