Sources are confirming that a deal has in fact been struck between the current Atlanta Thrashers owners and Winnipeg based True North Sports and Entertainment to bring the team from Atlanta to Winnipeg. This would be the second time that the city of Atlanta has lost a pro hockey franchise.
Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail originally broke the story, stating that True North Sports and Entertainment, owners of the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League and the MTS Centre Arena in Winnipeg would be taking over the disheveled franchise. Nothing official has been announced as of yet, however speculation has been growing for months that the move is imminent.
If this relocation does happen it won’t be the first time that a NHL team has moved out of Atlanta. Following the 1979-1980 season the Atlanta Flames left Atlanta for their current destination of Calgary. This move could allow Winnipeg to possibly be the location of the NHL’s 7th Canadian Franchise. Winnipeg to had a NHL franchise once however the Jets left for Phoenix to become the Coyotes after the 1996 season.
Their is no doubt in my mind that most major Canadian cities including Winnipeg could support a NHL team better than Atlanta. Should the team somehow end up staying in Atlanta it really is only a matter of time before some move occurs. Commissioner Gary Bettman continues to keep NHL teams in the United States as opposed to bringing them to Canada despite the fact that many of these American cities such as Phoenix and Atlanta cannot support the teams he strives to hold onto.
Personally, I really do hope that the Thrashers make the jump from undeserving Atlanta to Winnipeg. And for god sakes, that they bring back the original team name, the Winnipeg Jets.
Tell us what name you think the new team should be. Bring back the Jets? Keep the Thrashers? Or something completely new?