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This article was published 4/5/2015 (1790 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It turns out — again — that the best brand is the old brand.
Just as they did when they brought the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg and named them the Jets, True North Sports & Entertainment stuck with tradition in rebranding the AHL team it’s bringing back to the city for next hockey season.
Meet the Manitoba Moose, again.
The Moose left Winnipeg in 2011 when the Jets moved here. After 15 seasons in the IHL and AHL, the team became the St. John’s IceCaps and played in the Newfoundland and Labrador capital for four seasons.
Starting this fall, the team will be the Moose and will play its AHL schedule out of the MTS Centre.
"It’s been 19 years since we first introduced the Moose brand to Winnipeg," True North chairman Mark Chipman said today. "It’s really gratifying and exciting to re-introduce a brand that we were very, very proud of for 15 years.
"We wouldn’t be in the NHL today but for those 15 years and I wouldn’t give back any one of those years. It’s in our DNA. Zinger (assistant GM Craig Heisinger), Chevy (GM Kevin Cheveldayoff) and I, we grew up in that league and so did many of our people that started with us 19 years ago."
The Jets loved the relationship with the people running the operation in St. John’s but fell out of love quickly with the geography of having their AHL development team two-and-a-half time zones and thousands of kilometres away.
After looking around for a better location, they’ve decided their own home is the best place.
And now they’re getting busy to make it happen. Work ahead will include construction of at least one new dressing room at the MTS Centre and expanded facilities at the MTS Iceplex for both the Jets and Moose.
"There are still a lot of things that come into play," Cheveldayoff said today about relocating yet another franchise. "There are behind-the-scenes infrastructure kind of things, building of dressing rooms here and at the Iceplex.
"The good thing about moving them back here is the familiarity of the market. We don’t have to worry about trying to familiarize ourselves with another market. We know how the AHL works here. We know what they ins and outs of it were, the travel, the logistics of all that. There are some exciting opportunities that are going to re-invent themselves on the community side of things and being able to reconnect some of these players with the community in options that aren’t always there with the Jets."
Along with the name and slightly redesigned logo using Jets colours, the Jets also announced other details.
The Moose will play home games in front of fans in the lower bowl only at the MTS Centre, capacity 8,812.
Today the team re-launched its website, www.moosehockey.com and tickets went into a first pre-sale phase today at noon for Jets’ P1 season-seat holders to buy full-season Moose tickets in their regular Jets’ seats.
That phase ends Tuesday night at 10 p.m. and then another pre-sale phase begins Wednesday morning at 10 a.m., until Thursday at 10 p.m..
For that one, P1 seat-holders can buy tickets elsewhere in the MTS Centre and all other Jets season-ticket holders, wait-list customers and corporate partners will have a chance to buy season tickets and mini-packs.
All ticket inventory will be offered in those two pre-sales, the Jets said today.
On Friday, all remaining available seats will go on sale to the general public.
P-1 season ticket holders have been contacted personally the Jets say, and all transactions in the second phase and general public will go through www.moosehockey.com.
Cheveldayoff also said today that Keith McCambridge will stay on as the coach of the Moose and Mark Morrison will continue to be his assistant.
The Jets have also hired Brad Andrews as director of hockey operations for the Moose under Heisinger, the Moose GM.
AHL teams play a 76-game schedule, meaning there will be 38 home games next season at the MTS Centre. The Jets are expected to re-join the AHL’s Western Conference and be in a division with teams in the U.S. mid-west, but those details, as well as the schedule, have to be finalized at AHL meetings coming up next week and in early July.
Updated on Monday, May 4, 2015 at 11:15 AM CDT: Adds live video, adds details on tickets
11:22 AM: Adds photo
11:36 AM: Updates with more info on tickets
12:44 PM: Fixes typos.
3:39 PM: Writethru, adds quotes.