Sifting through fact, fiction & fantasy
Possible return of NHL spurs rumour, innuendo
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/04/2011 (4355 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
What is fact? What is fiction? What is speculation?
Some days it takes a scorecard to keep up with all the hard news, rhetoric and speculation spinning around when it comes to the potential return of the NHL to Winnipeg.
Between television, radio and print media across North America, people talking on the street, bloggers and message boards everywhere — there is a lot to digest.
Sometimes keeping all the information in its proper box is difficult. Speculation bleeds over into fact. Fiction, sometimes more popular than fact, gets taken as gospel.
With this in mind — here is what the Free Press knows to be true, not true and some really good guesses.
The Phoenix Coyotes and Atlanta Thrashers are for sale.
Both franchises are being considered for relocation by the NHL should local ownership not step forward.
True North Sports and Entertainment continues to speak with the NHL about the potential of buying one of these franchises and bringing it to Winnipeg.
If and when the NHL elects to relocate a franchise and should talks with True North advance to a certain point, Winnipeg’s marketplace will be tested.
Free Press hockey writer Tim Campbell first broached this subject in the spring of 2010 in his report on the nuts and bolts of bringing the NHL back to Winnipeg. Campbell was granted exclusive access to True North chairman Mark Chipman for the project.
Campbell wrote that credit card numbers and multi-year promises would be required from Winnipeg fans as well as multi-year commitments in corporate sponsorship areas.
The results of such a market test will provide True North, the NHL and Winnipeg with a gauge on the community’s ability to support a franchise.
True North, as evidenced by its major press box expansion at the MTS Centre, continues to work and bring itself closer as an organization for potential membership in the NHL.
Winnipeg is the only market that has a building, organization and ownership group that is ‘plug-and-play’ ready for next season.
A deal to bring the Phoenix Coyotes back to Winnipeg is already done but the NHL is waiting until after the Coyotes season is over to announce it.
True North has an agreement in place with the NHL to buy the Coyotes that includes a $60 million promise to renovate and add 2,500 seats to the MTS Centre.
True North will house an NHL franchise for one or two seasons in Winnipeg and then move it to Southern Ontario.
Jerseys, supposedly with a team name, logo and colour scheme, are already made and hanging in some secret location within the MTS Centre.
The NHL will ask the City of Glendale to dip into one of its rainy day funds and aid Matthew Hulsizer’s purchase of the Coyotes from the league.
The NHL will come to a form of resolution on the Coyotes before the Stanley Cup final begins.
The NHL has another buyer looking into buying the Coyotes and keeping them in Phoenix.
Should the NHL come to terms with a buyer to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix, the league will then immediately begin to discuss a sale of the Atlanta Thrashers with True North Sports and Entertainment.
A mysterious buyer, referred to in Atlanta radio reports as The Balkan, is close to finalizing an agreement to purchase the Thrashers, Atlanta Hawks and the rights to Philips Arena.
So, if you’re scoring at home — from this standpoint the game remains tied with the outcome still to be determined. It may be late in the ninth inning and Winnipeg may or may not have the winning run on board.
Either way, the winning run still needs to be plated. So stay in your seats.