Frequently Asked Questions

What is the speculation on what the teams name will be and/or has there been any statements made as to whether they will keep it as the Jets or not?

The question is a good one and has sparked much debate. True North has not made any statements regarding possible team nicknames and declines to answer that question when it's asked. All we know now is that Jets would be considered, but don't consider that a certainty that a team relocated here would take on that old identity.

Is there enough corporate support in Winnipeg to support a team?

"We're very satisfied that there's a large and strong enough corporate base. Part of what we look at is not just those indices the Chamber of Commerce can produce for you. Just the fact that we have all of our suites sold. They sold out very quickly when we built the building and we have a waiting list currently of about 50. The size of the city is such that you can get a real good sense of what the corporate community's desire and appetite is for a team. It's not something we really have to guess at, we're confident it's there."

- Mark Chipman from TSN interview in Why Not Canada? series

What happens if the Canadian dollar tanks?

"If you go through the analysis very carefully the Canadian dollar is going to have a greater impact on the acquisition than it will on the actual operation. With the current collective bargaining agreement, with the way cost redistribution works, there is a very meaningful way to mitigate the swings of the Canadian dollar... We studied it very carefully and clearly Canadian teams are not nearly at risk to the extent they were when it was down at 65 cents many years ago... If there wasn't, I don't know that we'd be looking at the league as favourably as we are."

- Mark Chipman from TSN interview in Why Not Canada? series

Where would Winnipeg be in the salary range?

"I think we're going to be a team that's right in the middle of the salary range. I think there will be opportunities depending on the strength of the core of your team where you see if you've got a chance to go you've got a very good nucleus of a team there may be a year or two when you spend the dough and you get to the cap. But on a go-forward basis I would say you're going to find us more a mid-cap team. We're not to the point where we've got that carved in stone, but as we've thought about it and as we've worked our numbers that's where I figure we'll land."

- Mark Chipman from TSN interview in Why Not Canada? series

Isn't the MTS Centre too small to host an NHL team?

With a seating capacity of 15,003 for hockey, the MTS Centre would be by far the smallest arena in the NHL. The smallest right now is Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (New York Islanders), which holds 16,234. But True North types have done the math and they believe the smaller seating capacity here fits the market and may actually help more than hurt them. That’s because they believe a smaller capacity will create ‘scarcity’ for tickets that will drive the sale of mini–packs and season ticket packages from fans worried that they will get ‘shut out’ if they wait around for individual tickets to go on sale.

"I think it's very suitable because its suitable for our market. The building's got to fit your market. If there's one thing I've learned in the past 15 years, if your supply far outstrips your demand, it's a slippery slope, it's a very difficult business to be in."

- Mark Chipman from TSN interview in Why Not Canada? series

Could the MTS Centre be expanded for more seating and how long could it take?

Not happening.

"We might even lose a few for camera positions. Adding seats can't be done. It's not physically possible. We can't take the roof off. Any building improvements will not include the addition of any seats. The NHL likes the building. In discussions we've had with the league in the past few years, size has never been a concern. We have always thought the building is the right size for the market. Our ability to add a couple thousand seats would produce revenue that would not be material, given the ticket prices, and moreover, it would make it more difficult to sell commit­ted season-ticket revenue that will ultimately determine the success of any team."

— True North Chairman Mark Chipman

If Ice Edge signs a lease agreement with Glendale is there a chance the NHL can still reject them as owners?

Yes. The NHL Board of Governors must approve the prospective owners.

Would any returning hockey team be automatically called the Jets, or is there outside trademark issues or NHL pressure to "make a fresh start" that might prevent this?

Nothing is automatic. The NHL owns the trademark. It would be up to the NHL and the ownership group to come to an agreement. If you look at the Coyotes situation, both potential local ownership groups have stated in their Memorandum of Understanding letters that they would change the name of the team.

"No, no. The league owns those. Remember, we did not have proprietary interest in the hockey team. We held it for the people of Winnipeg. If a team comes back to Winnipeg, it will be up to whoever brings a team back to decide on the name."

- Former Jets owner Barry Shenkarow quoted in a story

How long has David Thomson been involved with the Manitoba Moose?

The man who heads up Canada’s richest family — the Thomsons were ranked No. 1 in Canadian Business magazine’s Rich 100 list last year with a net worth of $21.99 billion — has been a partner with True North Sports & Entertainment since MTS Centre opened in November 2004.

He is not directly involved with either the company, the building or the hockey team. In fact, his role has been described as “very silent.” But through Osmington Inc., the family’s private real estate division, Thomson and McGill-Stephenson Co. Ltd, a company owned and run by the Chipman family, are equal partners with TNSE and the Moose.

People talk about filling the MTS Centre if and when the Jets come back, but I don’t remember that many sell outs when I went to games when the Jets were still here. What was the average attendance back then?

The myth persists that during the last years of the Jets’ run in Winnipeg, fans supported them in droves with sell-out after sell-out. That’s simply not true. While there were sell-outs from time to time - say when the Toronto Maple Leafs or Montreal Canadiens came to town - all too often, there were several thousand fans per game disguised as empty chairs.

During the Jets’ last season in 1995-96, albeit a lame-duck year, the average attendance was 11,313, more than 4,200 seats short of a sell-out. It was the worst year for ticket sales in during the Jets’ 17-year run in the NHL.

Attendance for the three previous years, which could be a better gauge of interest because the team wasn’t preparing to move south, were 13,544 (92-93), 13,130 (93-94) and 13,012 (1995 - which was shortened by a strike).

The best year was 1985-86 when an average of 13,694 fans came to each game.

Would any government money be spent to bring a team back, or to cover any potential losses?

TNSE would not require public funds to acquire a team. As the private ownership group would also own the facility, there is no expensive lease to worry about. Will the ownership group work with the province and the city to talk about tax breaks, grants or other incentives? Probably. But a direct ask for taxpayers' dollars to cover ongoing losses would be unpopular among politicians and  taxpayers. We won't know definitively until a team is available for relocation and the proposed terms of the move are made public.

If the NHL were to come to winnipeg, would the Moose be forced to leave and if so, where would the Moose go?

It is unlikely that the city can support two professional hockey teams, so the Moose would likely move to another city. Any discussion about a specific potential location is pure speculation at this point.

How much time is really needed to relocate a team here? At what point do we have to wait till next year (2011)?

We’re not trying to be sticks in the mud but technically, the deadline is already passed for 2011-12. The NHL requires application for moving a team by Jan. 1 of the previous year. What’s realistic, especially in a desperation situation? That’s anybody’s guess but many people in the hockey business think that if you don’t have six to eight months of lead time, you are simply asking for disaster. If a move for 20010-11 is actually still possible, and nobody knows that it is, the most difficult things (nearing impossible) to waiting this long are the NHL schedule, which is probably mostly done, and selling an adequate number of season tickets, luxury suites and corporate sponsorships. Whatever the most optimistic of relocation hopefuls thinks, these things do not fall out of the sky.

What was the average ticket price in Winnipeg when the Jets moved to Phoenix in 1996?

The average ticket price at Winnipeg Arena during the 1995-96 NHL season was $23.82. And that was a bargain. The only cheaper average priced tickets that season were in Tampa ($22.37) and Edmonton, who had the cheapest average seats at $20.68. The most expensive average seat that season was in Boston at $52.58.

What would the average ticket price in Winnipeg be if the NHL came back?

We don’t know for sure. But what we do know is what other NHL teams are charging this season. The cheapest average price ticket this season, according to official figures, is in Dallas at $35.66, followed by Tampa at $35.76 and Buffalo at $36.43. (Officially, the average price ticket for Phoenix this year was $37.45, but the club has been selling lower bowl tickets for as little as $30 and upper bowl for as little as $15.) The highest price average ticket was in Toronto this season at $117.49, followed a distant second by Montreal at $72.18 and Vancouver at $62.05.

What was the average ticket price in Calgary and Edmonton?

According to the November 2009 Forbes magazine study, Calgary was $56 and Edmonton was $55. Of interest, Phoenix was listed as $37 and Atlanta $45.

Are the Phoenix Coyotes the only relocation possibility for Winnipeg? What about all the rumors about the Atlanta Thrashers from earlier this year?

Atlanta is a possibility. Nashville has also come up as a potential candidate. Major considerations for any relocation? The NHL Board of Governors must approve any move. In most cases, a new ownership group would need to pay relocation fees and or break existing lease deals by paying millions in penalties. For what it's worth, Atlanta is currently promoting a season ticket sale for $999, or $23 per game for next season. Forbes Magazine lists Atlanta 29 out of 30 in terms of franchise value, with Phoenix in the 30 spot.

Are all of the Canadian teams in the top 10 in profits in the NHL?

If you look at Forbes rankings from November 2009, Canadian teams rate well. Not all in the top 10, but only Ottawa and Calgary are seen to be losing money. If you look at their revenue rankings, Canadian teams once again rate high.

What are our chances (serious) of acquiring another NHL team? I was at the Forks rally in 95 and would love to see a team here again.

The chances are very good. It comes down to the availability of a team. As more teams in the U.S. struggle, the odds improve. The ownership group, arena, secondary revenue streams and separate practice facilities are in place. Also worth noting: The Canadian dollar has stabilized and the Collective Bargaining Agreement and salary cap make a major difference.

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