1It is Winnipeg's best kept sporting secret. And even NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly is following along with great interest while the debate as to what Winnipeg's new NHL franchise will be called rages on and on.
But while the NHL has the final say on any branding/name/logo issue, Daly said the real decision will be left to True North bosses Mark Chipman and David Thomson.
"Ultimately we do (have final say on the issue), but great deference is given to the local ownership to choose its identity and its colours," said Daly. "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."
Daly did say Chipman is concerned the Jets' history is linked to the Phoenix Coyotes franchise. The new organization here, meanwhile, owns all of the Atlanta Thrashers history and records.
"But (Jets) is not part of the Phoenix identity, it's part of Phoenix's history," Daly said. "What Mark has said to me in the past is one of his concerns about the 'Jets' name and identity is he really doesn't own his history. Now, he hasn't indicated that pushes him away in any material way, it's just a point of fact.
"Having said that, the Minnesota Wild is a good example of a team that returned to a community without the team's former identity, which was the North Stars, and they don't own the team's history. They don't have any of the North Stars' records or players in their guide and record book. But they've still been able to leverage the Stars' reputation in the community and legacy in the community in a positive way. So that's certainly an example of a situation where it's a different team, a different name, a different identity, but they're still able to take advantage of their history."
-- Ed Tait