It was reported today in the Toronto Sun that the move by Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg has been "confirmed" and they are only waiting on paperwork to finalize the deal.
The reports have been back and forth and no-one has confirmed anything from either side, it has just been speculation that Atlanta Thrashers would move to Winnipeg who has been looking for an NHL franchise since The Jets left over a decade ago. The report in the Toronto Sun today and True North Sports & Entertainment of Winnipeg have come to a deal.
That begs the question about Jim Balsillie founder of BlackBerry who wanted to buy the Phoenix Coyotes and bring them to Hamilton but the NHL would not allow it, even though Coyotes are in serious financial troubles. So what would happen if Balsillie purchases True North, would he get into the NHL through the back door, or has he even thought about that?
The Coyotes have been carried for the past year financially by the NHL and they still will not sell it to Balsillie, but the City of Glendale, AZ has just paid the NHL $25 mil to keep the losing franchise in their city.
The report last week by the Globe and Mail in Toronto was not confirmed and yet the speculation still continues, and if the Toronto Sun is correct NHL has to make a final decision within the next few weeks since the schedule for the 2011-12 season has to be started very soon.
Last night on SportNet during the Memorial Cup Tournament in Mississauga, Thrashers General Manager, Rick Dudley was asked every which way if Atlanta is moving to Winnipeg but he just kept saying, "I only know what everyone else knows, and that is nothing, about the Winnipeg situation." They even went as far as to ask him if Thrashers move to Winnipeg, "will he move with the team," to which he said it again, he has no idea what is happening.
Meanwhile back in Atlanta, fans are holding tailgate parties to keep the Thrashers in their city and they have even gone a step further and launched their ticket sales for the 2011-12 season, talk about uncertainty, they are convinced they are not moving. And they said if there is a deal, it was offered in US currency not loonies, but forgot to mention that the US currency is worth less than Canadian, so from that aspect, if it goes through, it will be a bonus for True North.
Only time will tell, but the indications are that Atlanta Thrashers will move to Winnipeg, and Canada will get another team. One hope is that if Winnipeg gets the team, they can then move Detroit Red Wings into the eastern division, where they rightfully belong.