Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/5/2011 (4065 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The roaring media coverage and rumour mongering that has been a staple of the Phoenix Coyotes saga over the last 24 months is about to grind to a halt with little chance of a similar sideshow on the Atlanta Thrashers front.
If indeed there are negotiations between Winnipeg's True North Sports and Entertainment and Thrashers owners Atlanta Spirit Group, don't expect them to be carried out in a public manner.
There are no fringe parties to pump for information and no chatty city councillors eager to see their name in print. This is simply a deal between two business groups with little interest in publicity.
Maybe some guy gets a little loose after a couple of long gins and breathes something to his caddy or driver but don't expect any splashy reports in the coming days.
If a sale gets close and True North is comfortable enough to take our community's temperature and find out if we are willing to pay NHL prices for NHL hockey -- a test market ticket drive will be announced.
Other than that, little of consequence will be forthcoming. There will be rumours and theories but little more.
True North doesn't talk about its business in public until it has something to announce. ASG may have been more vocal in the past on the topic of the Thrashers but it appears they too have clammed up.
ASG principal Bruce Levenson responded to a media request on Wednesday with a short text message.
"We are continuing to seek solutions for the Thrashers. I will not comment on any speculation," wrote Levenson.
In the spirit of covering bases, True North was also contacted but gave its standard, "No comment."
The NHL, barely having time to get its hands out of the muck that has become the Phoenix Coyotes ownership situation, wasn't offering much on the Thrashers talk.
"No. I can't say I've been focussing on Atlanta while we've been trying to get Phoenix's situation squared away," wrote NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly in response to an email from the Free Press asking if he had any comment on speculation about talks between True North and ASG.
Much of the Coyotes saga was played out for media and interested observers due to the involvement of a municipal government.
Glendale desperately wants to keep the Coyotes as a tenant at Jobing.com Arena. Despite the NHL's inability to find a buyer willing to keep the team there, the city has extended its agreement to cover team losses up to $25 million for next season in order to buy more time. That can't be arranged behind closed doors.
City of Glendale council legally needed to keep its constituents in the loop at certain junctures.
True North and ASG have no similar responsibilities.
So, if there's a dance, it will be done in the dark.
There are some known factors at this point, namely that True North wants to purchase and bring an NHL franchise to Winnipeg and that ASG wants new investors or an outright buyer for the Thrashers.
Unknowns are whether the groups have enough time to reach a deal for next season or what level of interest there is at the league level to let such a transaction move forward.
Soon all will be revealed as the NHL needs to finalize schedule plans for the coming season in short order.
So it's time to wait again. Only this time there won't be any buzzing to keep us company. Just silence.