Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ice any idea of WHL's Kootenay franchise coming to 'Peg

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The Western Hockey League is not coming to Winnipeg for next season.

A report in the Prince George Citizen on the sale of that city's WHL franchise mentions Winnipeg as the future home of the Kootenay Ice, but the Winnipeg Jets, owners of the MTS Centre, say there's no truth to the story.

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"The reports are 100 per cent false. Again," said Jets director of communication Scott Brown.

Here's an excerpt from the report in Monday's Citizen written by Ted Clarke.

"The Prince George Cougars have been sold to local businessman Greg Pocock and a group of investors that includes NHL players and former Cougars Eric Brewer and Dan Hamhuis, say several sources close to the team.

"Pocock is the owner of Prince George Hydromechanical, an industrial cleaning services contractor, and is co-owner of Forest Power Sports, a Prince George-based recreational vehicle dealership.

"The local sources, who requested anonymity, say the team was purchased for close to $7 million, while longtime owner Rick Brodsky had been asking for $8 million. With a tentative deal now in place, it still has to receive approval from the WHL head office and be passed by the league's board of directors.

"Neither Pocock nor Brodsky returned calls to the Citizen on Sunday.

The Cougars have been the subject of rumours they would be moved to Nanaimo or Winnipeg. But Nanaimo lacks a WHL-sized arena, and now it appears Winnipeg will be the home of the Kootenay Ice next season."

The Jets did kick the tires on a purchase of the Ice as recently as last summer but deemed the addition of a third hockey team to their portfolio as an overload.

Management felt it needed to get a better handle on its NHL franchise and the possible relocation of its AHL club before spreading itself any thinner.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 4, 2014 D2

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About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and www.winnipegfreepress.com
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.

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