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This article was published 30/5/2011 (3064 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
WINNIPEG — Lawyers continue to work on a deal that would see True North Sports and Entertainment purchase and relocate the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg.
The deal is close to being finalized and the NHL would like to have it closed and announced on Tuesday prior to the beginning of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
To that end, lawyers representing True North, Atlanta Spirit Group and the NHL are pressing forward.
Rumours about a press conference circulated all day Monday and the latest reports suggest any announcement has been scrubbed.
Sources tell the Free Press that's not the case and all stops have been pulled out in an attempt to wrap this up and clear the way for a Tuesday press conference.
True North Sports has been negotiating with Atlanta Spirit Group and the NHL to purchase and relocate the Thrashers to Winnipeg.
True North has said they will not make any announcement until a deal is finalized.
The Forks has been told to be ready to hold a party for the announcement that Winnipeg is back in the NHL — on Tuesday at the earliest — and staff there are in full planning mode.
Paul Jordan, chief operating officer at The Forks, said while the weather atmosphere may be dismal, the party atmosphere will be blissful.
"The party will be anytime the announcement is made — all I can say is come to The Forks when the announcement is made," Jordan said. "We will have bands, the stage will be going. It will be good talent."
Jordan said they had already been told to get ready last Tuesday, and then again late Friday, but Tuesday looks like the day to pop the champagne.
"Depending when it happens we’ll have the announcement under the canopy or by the stage. It all depends what the weather will be like," he said.
"Somewhere at The Forks there will be a party."
City police are preparing for street closures in the downtown core, particularly the corner of Portage and Main. City officials say they have not been informed by True North of a firm time for any announcement.
Rutherford Seydel, a minority stakeholder in ASG told an Atlanta TV station on Monday things look gloomy for the Thrashers in Atlanta.
"I can't really comment on where we stand," said Seydel. "I can just say that I'm proud of my partners for working hard to keep the Thrashers and paying a lot of money, all of us, to keep the team in town for longer than anybody else has thus far.
"Unfortunately, there are not enough of us that are passionate at this point in time to keep the team, to replenish what we need to have done."
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.
Updated on Monday, May 30, 2011 at 12:17 PM CDT: Adds information from The Forks
4:25 PM: Updates True North situation.
5:49 PM: Adds comments from Atlanta.
9:44 PM: Adds deal close to be finalized.