The threat of relocation was very real for Penguins fans only a handful of years ago. For another NHL team, the threat is now very real. And we’re not talking about the Phoenix Coyotes.â†µ
On Thursday, Stephen Brunt of Toronto’s The Globe and Mail reported that a deal has been finalized to move the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg in time for the newly-minted team to begin playing next season.â†µ
Sources confirmed tonight that preparations are being made for an announcement Tuesday, confirming the sale and transfer of the Thrashers to True North Sports and Entertainment, which owns and operates the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League and the MTS Centre arena, which would become the NHL team’s new home.â†µ
Though NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman firmly denied that a deal has been finalized to move the team, he made a similarly firm non-denial that a deal wouldn’t be reached.â†µ
"We get reports, speculation, that the team’s gone. And there’s no deal," Bettman said. "I can tell you that with certainty that there is no deal for this team to move. Am I predicting that there will never be or that there won’t be at some point in time? No, I’m not saying there is or there isn’t."â†µ
Brunt claims that an announcement will come as soon as next Tuesday. By all indications, there’s more truth than fallacy to his story.