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WHL's Kootenay Ice not headed for Winnipeg: Jets

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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.

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

Here’s an excerpt from the report in today’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 at this time.

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

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