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This article was published 17/5/2011 (4058 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
One of the National Hockey League’s decision-makers has given his support to Winnipeg’s bid to score the Atlanta Thrashers.
Murray Edwards, principal owner of the Calgary Flames, a member of the NHL Board of Governors and the sole Canadian owner on the league's executive committee, weighed in on the possible relocation of the Thrashers at Tuesday’s annual general meeting of Canadian Natural Resources. He is vice-chair of the Calgary-based energy company.
"If, at the end of the day, there is ultimately no local ownership (in Atlanta), then the league would have to look to move franchises," Edwards told the Globe and Mail.
"And I think today there is probably no market in North America that is more open and more supportive of an NHL franchise than would be Winnipeg. So if we can’t keep the franchises existing in one of the current markets, I think Winnipeg would be probably a prime place to move to."
When asked if the possible return of Winnipeg to the league after a 15-year absence would be opposed by any of Canada’s six franchises, Edwards said, "Canadian teams are supportive of having franchises where they are successful. But if there are opportunities to move franchises, Canadian owners would be supportive of seeing additional teams in Winnipeg or elsewhere."
When Edwards was in Winnipeg last year to receive the International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award from the University of Manitoba, he said the Manitoba capital would be near or at the top of the list of cities for expansion or relocation opportunities.
"You need strong ownership and fan support to succeed, I think those things exist in Winnipeg," he said.