What is True North’s business-related announcement?

With speculation about a press conference on Thursday this week about a major announcement from True North, we’ve been working hard to predict what the announcement will be. We know with 100% certainty that it will not be to release the new team name as Scott Brown told us “there is no announcement on the team name coming this week…other announcements which are business-related coming…team name is not one of them…”

One rumour that was tossed around was the potential renaming of the MTS Centre now that NHL hockey is playing there. We don’t believe that to be the case either as when we look over the press release from back on December 10, 2003. True North and MTS made a 10-year agreement on the naming rights to commence at the opening of the rink in November, 2004. By that logic unless there was a loop hole (which is possible) they would not be able to renegotiate the deal with MTS or any other company until November of 2014. Also Jim Ludlow had confirmed that True North and MTS had come a to a new agreement on naming rights to the Winnipeg Free Press on June 1st, so it’s safe to say that the arena is not getting renamed. Part of the announcement could be the new terms of the deal which should be worth considerably more then the $7 Million for 10 years that they previously agreed to.

We know as well that Chevy will be conducting interviews for the Head Coach this week so we can also safely rule out that option as well.

The board of governors meeting is not until the 21st so it can’t be to announce that they were voted in and the relocation has become official.

So if it’s not a team name, it’s not renaming the MTS Centre, it’s not a coach and it’s not anything new from the NHL what could it be?

It’s quite possible it could be the resigning of captain Andrew Ladd, however I tend to think that this would’ve leaked out on one of the major sites by now, so I speculate that it’s not that either. Plus Mr. Brown also stated it was business-related, and while signing your star and captain is business, it’s more likely that would have been phrased as hockey-related not business-related so we’re ruling this option out for now.

Goals for Kids used to be a popular charity back in the Jets NHL days and it still exists in a different form with the Moose in the Moose Yearling Foundation. An announcement on a continuation of some form of charity to childrens organizations will likely happen at sometime and possibly could be part of the announcement on Thursday, but we feel that’s unlikely at this time.

One of the biggest questions that always came up when a new team in Winnipeg was brought up was corporate support. I suspect that one of the major priorities that True North had was trying to lock down official team sponsors and I believe that this will be the primary focus of the upcoming announcement. Not that the vote on June 21st isn’t already a slam dunk, but what better way to ensure nobody questions it by securing long term sponsorship deals for the team and proving naysayers wrong once again that there is enough corporate support in Winnipeg for an NHL team.

So the question then becomes what company(s) will be the official sponsor(s) of the new NHL team?

Some past Winnipeg Jets sponsors have included the likes of: 7up, Pizza Hut, Chrysler Canada, 7 Eleven, Coca-Cola, CJOB68 and Molson to name a few. True North has worked with Assiniboine Credit Union, Red River Co-op, Remax Realtors, and the Winnipeg Free Press recently on the MTS Iceplex.

While I’m not going to pretend and guess at who the big sponsors will be for the new NHL team, I will go out on a limb and say that Thursday’s announcement will be to announce the partnership with at least one major sponsor. And the question I ask all of you is what do you think and who would you like to see sponsor your new NHL team?

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Jeff Stevenson is a co-founder of winnipegwhiteout.com and co-host of the popular Jets Hockey Podcast. He grew up in Winnipeg, MB and became very passionate about sports, hockey and the Jets. Now Jeff is proud and honored to help bring news and information about the Winnipeg Jets to fans around the world.