NHL returns to ice in Winnipeg

Winnipeg MTS Centre will welcome NHL hockey in the fallToday’s official announcement by True North Sports and Entertainment has almost cemented the return of an NHL franchise to Winnipeg. They’ve entered into an agreement to purchase the failing Atlanta Thrashers franchise and today at 11:00 am Central Time announced they had reached an agreement. Of course it’s still pending approval from the NHL board of governors which will get a serious boost from the “drive to 13,000” – the number of season tickets they want to reach – which begins tomorrow, June 1, 2011 for existing season and mini-pack ticket holders of the Manitoba Moose. Tickets for the general public go on sale on Saturday, June 4.

No name has been released as of yet, but signs are pointing to a likely chance that it will be the Winnipeg Jets returning to their home they left 15 years ago. The NHL owns the name still, so it would (in theory) be easy to extend the license. Honestly the NHL is more inclined to keep the focus on the Stanley Cup Final that begins tomorrow as well.

With the NHL returning to Winnipeg, the future of the Manitoba Moose is in question. Rumors state the Moose franchise will move to St. John’s, Newfoundland and become the Winnipeg teams new farm team. That means that the Vancouver Canucks will need to find a new team. With potential personnel changes, naming, merchandise and location issues coming up, the next few weeks will definitely be interesting.

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Marshall Stevenson regularly contributes to one of the best Winnipeg Jets blogs as an editor and co-founder while also working on JET FUEL – a documentary about Winnipeg Jets fans. Of course he's also behind the only official, unofficial Jets fan gear site. And as if he wasn't busy enough, a co-host on the popular Winnipeg Jets focused Jets Hockey Podcast.