League brass poised to officially bless transfer of Thrashers to True North


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IT'S been a slam dunk, a done deal, a fait accompli, essentially since hockey fans in this province spoke loudly with their wallets in the Drive to 13,000 over two weeks ago.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/06/2011 (4301 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

IT’S been a slam dunk, a done deal, a fait accompli, essentially since hockey fans in this province spoke loudly with their wallets in the Drive to 13,000 over two weeks ago.

That said, Tuesday, June 21 will also be remembered as a monumental day in the history of pro hockey in this city — this country — as the National Hockey League’s board of governors, meeting in New York, will approve the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers to True North Sports & Entertainment and the relocation of the franchise to Winnipeg.

The vote should occur early on the agenda, but likely won’t be confirmed until after the governors’ meeting is completed around 2 p.m. CT. A transfer of ownership requires 75 per cent approval from the board while relocation needs only a majority vote, but both are expected to be unanimous.

The sale will be officially closed on Wednesday when True North fires off a cheque to the NHL to complete the reported $170-million transaction that includes a relocation fee of $60 million, which will be shared among the 29 other teams.

Meanwhile, reports are circulating the NHL’s governors will also approve a near $5-million jump in the salary cap for next season, pushing the upper limit to $64 million with a minimum floor of $48 million. The cap has risen every year under the current collective bargaining agreement, signed at the end of the lockout seven years ago, when it was set at $39 million.

WITH THE SEVEN PICK, THE WINNIPEG WHATSITS SELECT… : Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said Monday he’ll likely be front and centre Friday night when the franchise makes its first pick, seventh overall, at the NHL entry draft. Question is, what logo will be featured on the jersey and ball hat the kid pulls on for the ceremonial photo opportunity?

Speculation continues to swirl that even if the franchise picks its name beforehand, True North might not have its logo and uniform design ready for this Friday and the draft pick may wear an NHL jersey.

“Certainly there will be a sweater but whether it will be a team sweater, that remains to be seen,” said Cheveldayoff. “There has been different discussions of what to do in case of sweaters not being available. I think the elation for many young kids to hear their name called in the first round will be one of exuberance.”

‘BILL’ ON BOARD: The Russian ice hockey federation has appointed one-time Winnipeg Jets assistant Zinetula Bilyaletdinov as head coach of the national team. He replaces Vyacheslav Bykov, fired last month after Russia exited the world championships in May without a medal for the first time in five years.

A former Olympic champion defenceman for the Soviet teams of the 1970s and ’80s, Bilyaletdinov was an assistant with the Jets from 1993-95 before working with the Springfield Falcons of the AHL in 1995-96 and then the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996-97. Now 56, Bilyaletdinov is currently the coach of Kazan-based Ak Bars in the Kontinental Hockey League and his offer runs through the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

MORE HELP SOON?: Cheveldayoff said the organization will be looking to bolster its hockey staff after this weekend’s draft in Minnesota. But with so much on their to-do list, some of the additional hirings have been moved to the back burner.

“We’ll probably wait until after the draft to really round out our staff from the hockey ops side,” he said. “There are some different things to have to happen concurrently with the sale. We’re dealing with a lot of different things in a parallel time frame.”


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