Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: Winnipeg
Despite advice to wait and see what happens, the sale and move of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg sure had a sense of the inevitable about it, didn’t it?
There will be more euphoria about the return of hockey to Winnipeg than angst over its loss in Atlanta. Still, the loss of the Thrashers will hurt the team’s core fans for a long time to come. Sure, we can talk about the Thrashers being swept in their only playoff series, their inability to keep star players, and the Thrashers ranking near the NHL basement in attendance. Still, there was a core of fans who “Believed in Blueland” and now are left without a team. Think about them for a minute today and put yourself in their shoes for a minute. It’s a pretty crummy feeling to lose “your” team. Success or not, fans love their team, even if they love to complain about it. In the long run, it’s better to be a “long suffering” fan, than have no team at all.
And feel worse for the team’s staffers that lost their jobs. Most won’t make the move to Winnipeg and now enter an employment market that can best be described as “challenging” to say the least. They are the ones you really need some action, not words like these from the team’s statement.
“It’s extremely disappointing to all of us that (this sale) 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.”
added 3:49pm, Watch the full True North press conference below…
from Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
This is how it ends: With the weasel of a commissioner not stepping foot in the city, with another season passing without a playoff game, with a lying ownership group maintaining it did all it could to save a franchise that in reality it spent most of seven years wrecking.
Atlanta has lost an NHL expansion team to a Canadian outpost for the second time. The Thrashers are going to Winnipeg just like the Flames went to Calgary in 1980.
True North Sports and Entertainment has called a news conference for Noon et/11am ct today where they are expected to address their negotiations with Atlanta Spirit Group on the sale and relocation of the Thrashers to Winnipeg.
added 8:39am, The NHL Network in the US and Canada will broadcast the news conference beginning at noon ET today.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Chicago. Philadelphia. Boston. Vancouver.
Four of the largest, wealthiest, most aggressive sports markets in North America, all represented by their local hockey franchises in the past two Stanley Cup finals.
Into this uber-competitive mix re-enters Winnipeg, a city big enough that U2 played on the weekend at Canad Inns Stadium, and a city small enough that the spectacular prices being extorted by ticket scalpers/companies for this week’s Stanley Cup final, some in excess of $1,500 per ticket, should scare the hell out of its citizens.
You have to wonder; does The ’Peg really know what it’s getting into here?
Numerous reports claim a press conference announcing the move could be made tomorrow.
If not, then look to Thursday for the move to become official.
From the CP via TSN:
The players have been given no indication one way or the other where they’ll be playing home games next season, according to goaltender Chris Mason.
“They’re not going to include us in any of the stuff and we shouldn’t be either,” Mason said Friday from his off-season home in Red Deer, Alta. “We’ll know probably the same time or after everybody else knows, that’s the way it goes.
“We’re sitting on the edge of our seats waiting to see what’s going to happen, too.”
Gary Bettman doesn’t sound any more certain himself:
“There has been so much speculation. 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 they’re staying, we’re on to Atlanta.
“True North is going about their business and they’re taking a businesslike approach,” Bettman said. “We are pleased with that, but there’s nothing to report… I never say never about anything. There is no deal right now.”
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Perhaps in retrospect Sidney Crosby’s golden goal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver was a sign from the hockey heavens.
Get ready Canada for a new period of prosperity in professional hockey. A new golden era for this country in the NHL.
It is an era, expected to officially begin with the NHL deciding to move a team from the U.S. to Winnipeg as soon as this week, that has arrived with stunning speed.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
As someone who once cheered for the Montreal Expos, covered the rise and quick demise of the CFL’s Ottawa Renegades, and lives in a city that was robbed of the NBA Grizzlies, there is plenty of sympathy here for Phoenix Coyotes fans.
These can’t be easy times. The doomsday clock is ticking, and it’s becoming clear where this is headed. It’s a powerless feeling, and the rage builds from within.
Been there, done that, hope to never experience it again. And wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
The loss of a professional sports franchise is traumatic for a community, even if the trauma resides only in the diehards’ corner.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
“Yes, under the right circumstances and should there be a need or an opportunity, we would love to return to Winnipeg,” wrote NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly in an email.
“Love,” he said.
Well, in the immortal words of Junior Soprano, I’d love to, er, be intimate with Angie Dickinson, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.
“We would have to take a closer look and do some due diligence to make a determination on the Winnipeg market before making a conclusion one way or the other,” Daly continued. “That’s not something we have the need or reason to do at this point.”
Maybe not. But the day seems to be drawing closer.
While it’s hard to separate the myth from the reality when it comes to this subject, the least you can say is the circumstances surrounding Winnipeg have changed dramatically over the last couple of years, just as the circumstances in the NHL have changed.
from the National Post,
Nobody doubts Winnipeg is a great hockey town, the only questions that remain to be answered are: (a) will Winnipeggers fork over $100 a night for 41 nights to buy tickets; (b) are there are enough corporate dollars in town to maintain a franchise; (c) is the MTS Centre (at 15,100 seats) big enough; and (d) who will write the cheque for $180-million (or more) to bring an existing franchise or a potential expansion franchise to town?...
Here in the ‘Peg, the NHL debate will continue to rage. As as Gretzky and Laforge both know, compared to Tampa, South Florida, Phoenix, Atlanta or Nashville, Winnipeg isn’t a good hockey town, it’s a great one.
Of course, until someone is ready to write that big cheque, all the talk is meaningless.
from the East Valley Tribune,
One Winnipeg Sun columnist gleefully reported no Valley media outlets bothered to follow the Coyotes to The Great White North, reminding readers that the AHL’s Manitoba Moose always have two Winnipeg beat writers shadowing the team….
So you’ll excuse the local fifth estate if they skip the 2,000-mile trip to see a practice game featuring a dozen future members of the San Antonio Rampage. Winnipeg is a minor league sports town, so minor sports get major coverage. No surprise there….
We’re keeping the team. Winning will breed interest. So get over it.