July 14, 2020

Winnipeg
13° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

Close this

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Opinion

True North expected to trigger campaign for NHL season tickets

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/4/2011 (3378 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG - Time to put up or shut up.

The next time we hear from True North Sports and Entertainment it likely won’t be to announce the return of the NHL to our city but will instead be a call for Winnipeggers to demonstrate their ability to support an NHL team.

Does this city want an NHL franchise and is it willing to pay for it? Are Winnipeggers willing to buy tickets at NHL prices with a long-term financial commitment?

A Winnipeg franchise is not a guaranteed economic success in the minds of many NHL types and it’s a certainty the league’s board of governors will tell True North, should they get to the point where they are prepared to relocate to Winnipeg, to go to its constituents and ask for a vote of confidence.

Such a cash call could come as early as next week.

True North, in order to satisfy the board of governors, will likely ask Winnipeggers to commit to purchasing season tickets for a minimum of three seasons.

It’s unknown how long the community will have to respond but count on a week to sell the vast majority of the MTS Centre’s 15,000 seats.

A poor response from the community would likely scuttle True North’s attempt to land an NHL franchise.

"There is nothing in the constitution on this," said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly in an email to the Free Press on Thursday. "Certainly, one of the things the board has to have satisfied is that the market is capable of supporting an NHL team at NHL prices. But that can be done in a variety of ways, depending on the market. There is no one ‘cookie cutter’ approach here."

It’s believed the NHL and True North are working on a deal for partners Mark Chipman and David Thomson to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes from the league should the NHL fail to conclude a deal to keep the team in Arizona.

The NHL bought the team out of bankruptcy in 2009 and has been trying to sell it ever since. The league appears to be at an impasse in Arizona with no buyer willing to pay their asking price of $170 million to keep the team in Glendale, Ariz., at Jobing.com Arena.

Chipman and Thomson are prepared to meet the NHL’s asking price and move the team to Winnipeg to play out of the MTS Centre.

The league has been working with Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer to keep the team in Glendale but the deal has stalled. The NHL has been patient but appears close to imposing a deadline on the transaction or moving on altogether.

For Winnipeg, the moment of truth may be close at hand.

There will likely be only one crack at gaining an NHL franchise and no time for hesitation if the city truly wants its beloved Jets or an NHL team of another name.

The bald truth of the matter is we are viewed as failures in the NHL boardroom and will have to prove otherwise before they determine that we can be welcomed back into the world’s finest hockey league.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

The Free Press will close this commenting platform at noon on July 14.

We want to thank those who have shared their views over the years as part of this reader engagement initiative.

In the coming weeks, the Free Press will announce new opportunities for readers to share their thoughts and to engage with our staff and each other.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us