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Chipman to meet with NHL brass

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TRUE North chairman Mark Chipman will lead a contingent from the NHL's newest city -- Winnipeg -- to a meeting of the league's executive committee today in New York.

Chipman will update the top committee of NHL owners on the state of his company's transaction to buy the Atlanta Thrashers and move them to Winnipeg for the start of the 2011-12 season.

The meeting is expected to include an update from True North on the season-ticket campaign that was launched last Wednesday.

The campaign concluded just after noon CT on Saturday and in less than 72 hours, True North sold all 13,000 season tickets for commitments of three to five years. It also opened a waiting list for season tickets and capped that list at 8,000 before Saturday was over.

Today's meeting, which is expected to include NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, is the prelude to the June 21 full board of governors meeting in New York that will be asked to approve the change in ownership and its relocation. A majority of 75 per cent of league owners must give thumbs up to the sale, while a simple majority is required to allow the relocation to Winnipeg to proceed.

Those approvals are expected to be easily obtained, given the quality of True North's partnership of Chipman and David Thomson, plus the decisive success of the ticket campaign.

True North director of communications Scott Brown said Monday that he had no updates on any coming announcements about the franchise's hockey department or its new name. He said fans should not expect anything on either front today.

Chicago Blackhawks assistant GM and senior director of hockey operations Kevin Cheveldayoff has been offered the job. Chicago sources said he's been offered a five-year deal. That deal has apparently not been finalized and an announcement could be pushed into later this week.

There were also a variety of reports in the last few days about the future of Atlanta Thrashers GM Rick Dudley, who was informed by True North on Saturday that he will not be moving to Winnipeg with the franchise.

There have been reports that Dudley's buyout was part of the deal with the Atlanta Spirit group but another item of speculation has suggested Dudley's payout, including some amount of money from True North, will take place over the next eight years.

The Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise will be represented at Wednesday's NHL GM's meetings in Boston by former Thrashers GM and its outgoing president Don Waddell.

 

-- with files from Gary Lawless

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 7, 2011 C2

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