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Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

True North seeking debt help from gov't in NHL bid

Posted: 05/17/2011 5:28 PM | Comments: 0

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WINNIPEG - The game-plan to return NHL hockey to Winnipeg is banking on a financial assist from the Manitoba government, the Free Press has learned.

While negotiations are underway between True North Sports and Entertainment Ltd. and the ownership group of the Atlanta Thrashers, a critical part of Winnipeg’s pitch involves help from the Selinger government.

True North, which owns the MTS Centre, is looking to the province to help it manage the debt load it carries on the downtown arena in order to free up money to help pay for the relocation of the NHL team to Winnipeg.

A source said that request from True North is being studied by the province and in all likelihood will be accepted. The value of the request, or if it involves a low or no-interest loan, is not known.

"The building is a public asset," said a source explaining why the province is interested in an arrangement that sees aid go to the MTS Centre. "It will never move."

Premier Greg Selinger has refused to comment on the matter and his officials have said the deal between True North and the Thrashers is a private business matter.

Read Wednesday’s Free Press for a full report on this exclusive story on the bid to bring NHL hockey back to Winnipeg

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