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Winnipeg is a Step Back for the NHL

From Chris Stevenson of QMI via the Toronto Sun:

The NHL is going back to Winnipeg for one reason and one reason only.

It’s not because it is a place where hockey “matters,” as so many like to say.

It is not because of Manitobans love of the game.

Or because it is a desirable market (quite the opposite).

The reason is this: Faced with the choice of contracting the Atlanta Thrashers or moving to Winnipeg, the NHL is holding its nose and will back up the moving vans.

Not that the good people of Manitoba should care why they are getting an NHL team back, only that they are.

Make no mistake about it: As much as this is good news for the people of Manitoba, this is a setback for the league.

continued…

Meanwhile, Thrashers fans have a last-ditch rally planned for tomorrow.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

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24-7 updates on the Thrashers potential relocation:  http://www.didthethrashersmovetowinnipegyet.com/

Posted by Let's Go Thrashers! from Phillips Arena on 05/20/11 at 11:15 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

What a classic “get a rise out of people” article…the kind of stuff that the Suns, Stars and Gazettes whose owners have .ca suffixes on their domain names have been churning out since 1995…

Duh. Duh duh duh. Atlanta is obviously a gigantic market, media mecca and a place where the NHL’s key demographic, that 18-to-34-years-of-age group, tends to go. Winnipeg’s the Green Bay of the NHL, and yes, it’s just as cold as Edmonton (I love the concept when people talk about Winnipeg that it’s apparently the only cold place in Canada, just as the crappy economics in Detroit must mean that only ten people live there [there are about 4.5 million people living near Detroit in the suburbs]). 

That it is the most palatable situation when there’s an empty rink owned by the Kings’ owner, Phillip Anschutz, in Oklahoma City and plans for a gigantic convention center and stadium right on the Vegas Strip…Well that’s just scary…But if the NHL’s willing to bank on Phoenix, than I’m guessing that Winnipeg has more than a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/20/11 at 11:30 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

I want to see the Thrash move to Winnepeg just to see them be successful there. I hope all of these naysayers who are hatin’ on the Peg have to eat their words when David Thomson builds a winner there and makes that team profitable.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 05/20/11 at 11:54 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

So Atlanta will be the waystation for the Canadian hinterlands? First Atlanta got moved to Calgary, now to the ‘Peg. If Atlanta gets another team, maybe they can be moved to somewhere really remote, like Quebec City.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/21/11 at 01:44 AM ET

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I have no doubt that fans in Winnipeg will show up.  At first.  But that team has been bad for its entire history and the people responsible for it being bad are basically still in charge.  Tough to see how this new Winnipeg franchise is going to be among the bigger spenders in the league, and if they don’t win, if they end up being about the same as the Oilers, can they survive a couple of down years once the honeymoon is over?

The way I see it, the same issues that prompted the Jets to move are still in play: small market, not a lot of potential corporate support, substandard NHL arena.  What’s changed in the last 15 or whatever years that makes Winnipeg more viable than it once was?  By the way, I’m not knocking the fans of Winnipeg or their passion for hockey I’m just trying to deal with the reality of what’s going to happen to this franchise 10-15 years down the road.  As bad of a market as Atlanta is/was they were still drawing over 13k fans a night in an arena with more than double the luxury boxes that exist in Winnipeg.  Even if the arena In Winnipeg is sold out every night we’re still only talking about an additional 1500 fans a game, a smaller tv market, and less than half as many luxury suites.

Posted by RoneFace on 05/21/11 at 03:15 AM ET

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When the bright lights finally shine on Winnipeg it comes up lacking and everyone starts to remember why it failed the first time and makes no more sense the second time around.

Posted by timbits on 05/21/11 at 12:31 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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