Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

True North won't confirm Jets move to central

Decision not expected until governors meet in December

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It's not official and won't be until December when the NHL's board of governors get together to discuss divisional realignment.

And it's not exactly a newsflash, but some clarification appears to be in order:

The Winnipeg Jets will be changing divisions for the 2012-13 season after spending this year in the Southeast Division with the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers.

That much was hinted at last week when Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leopold told Minneapolis radio station KFAN his team -- along with the Jets -- would be part of the Western Conference's Central Division in 2012-13 along with Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville, Dallas and possibly Columbus, with Detroit moving to the Eastern Conference.

True to form, the Jets won't comment on Leopold's statement. Said True North spokesperson Scott Brown: "Nothing has been confirmed. We're not going to comment on that type of speculation."

A story detailing Leopold's comments appeared in Saturday's Free Press but resurfaced again Tuesday after news reports which erroneously stated he had spoken to the radio station earlier this week began circulating.

"Our division would include the Winnipeg Jets, us, the Blues, the Nashville Predators, the Dallas Stars, Chicago Blackhawks, and maybe the Columbus Blue Jackets... maybe not depending on if they go east or west. I am all in favour of that. I think that is a grand slam, home run, hat trick for our team," said Leopold last week.

"We're all Central Division now. All of our teams, except for Columbus, all of our teams will be Central Division. We'll play less teams in Canada. We will play every team home and away at least one time."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

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