Bettman preaches more patience for Winnipeg

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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was preaching more patience for Winnipeg at his annual state-of-the-league press conference today at the Stanley Cup final in Chicago.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/05/2010 (4511 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was preaching more patience for Winnipeg at his annual state-of-the-league press conference today at the Stanley Cup final in Chicago.

This time, Bettman not only identified Mark Chipman and David Thomson, the True North Sports and Entertainment partners, but admitted for the first time they had submitted a “bona fide” offer for the ailing Phoenix Coyotes.

The NHL had referred to that offer anonymously in the deal it signed last week with the City of Glendale that keeps the team in the Arizona desert for at least one more season. That arrangement covers up to US$25 million of cash losses in operating the team next season.

Nam Y. Huh / the associated press Gary Bettman addresses the media during a news conference today in Chiicago.

The league bought the team out of U.S. bankruptcy court last fall.

“There was also a lot of speculation, and I’ll address it now, about what would have happened if the City of Glendale didn’t step up as they were prepared to do to support the franchise for next season,” Bettman said today. “We would have been forced; we would have had no choice but to move it.

“There has been a lot of speculation about Winnipeg. Winnipeg did make a bona fide offer. We never concluded a deal. That offer was made by Mark Chipman and David Thomson as partners in True North and they’re very comfortable with the process. They understood that the likelihood was that the team was going to be remaining in Phoenix. They wanted us to know of their interest and they have told us that they are prepared to be patient.”

The commissioner also said something that a lot of people in the hockey world either weren’t aware of, or didn’t believe — that the 15,003-seat MTS Centre is an NHL building.

He was actually being questioned on a interest in another franchise in southern Ontario and received a follow-up question: “There doesn’t seem to be NHL buildings in either Quebec or Winnipeg at this stage …”

The commissioner interrupted the question: “Winnipeg, I believe, has an NHL building, and in Quebec they’re talking about building one.”

True North spokesman Scott Brown said today that there would be no comment on Bettman’s remarks about the offer for the Coyotes.
“We’re pleased to hear the commissioner confirm what we’ve held since we constructed the building back in 2004, that MTS Centre meets NHL standards,” Brown added.

JOE.BRYKSA/ WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES MTS Centre

Bettman was also asked if he had a timeline in mind for True North’s offer to move the Coyotes.

“I’m not going to put a timeline on it because I do not want to raise expectations,” Bettman said.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca
 

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