WINNIPEG - It is Winnipeg’s best-kept sporting secret. And even NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly is following along with great interest.
What will Winnipeg’s new NHL franchise be called? A great question to which many in the community and are breathlessly waiting for an answer. Thing is, all the league’s front-office executives who have gathered here to go over some logistical issues can do is offer up their own support and ideas.
The real decision will be left to True North bosses Mark Chipman and David Thomson, although the league would have to approve any logo/nickname/branding change.
"Ultimately we do, but great deference is given to the local ownership to choose its identity and its colours," said Daly during a visit with the media Wednesday afternoon. "You have to be sensitive to the other teams in the league and their images and identities and make sure what’s being created is a distinct identity. But beyond that it’s pretty much up to the club.
"I know a little bit more today than I did yesterday (about the naming issue) but, no, I don’t think that decision’s been made yet. It really hasn’t. Part of the presentations today was going through the team identity and the possibilities there. Mark still has a lot of good options in that regard and I’m sure he’ll come to rest at some point with his partners on what they want to do."
Meanwhile, a number of NHL office types — from the broadcast, hockey operations, corporate marketing and communications departments — are gathered here to meet with True North about their questions and any concerns about upgrading MTS Centre.
"We’re just taking the True North organization through league processes and policies, how we can be helpful, when we can be helpful, league business... that kind of stuff," said Daly.
MTS Centre is an NHL-calibre building that needs some tinkering, said Daly. An example, more room has to be made for extra television cameras while the glass will have to be changed from seamless to acrylic in compliance with a league mandate passed a couple of months ago.
Finally, Daly expects the NHL’s Board of Governors to unanimously approve the relocation and sale of the Thrashers to True North at their meeting in New York on June 21.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly spoke today to members of the media at the MTS Centre.
Scroll ahead to 5:20 for the start of the scrum.