It's official: Winnipeg will be joining the NHL. Again. Press releases were issued on both sides today, True North Sports & Entertainment Limited has entered into an agreement with Atlanta Spirit, LLC, putting an end to the Atlanta Thrashers as we've known them since the 1999-2000 season.
The name game has been popular one to play in the media and between fans. It's believed the team will be named after Manitoba, not Winnipeg, to create broader corporate sponsorship interest. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has stated the name Jets will be available, but there's been no indication which name the new owners are leaning towards. Jamie, who helps with everything news-related around here, is hoping they're called the Rebels (Wikipedia what?).
Ever since the Winnipeg Jets, Quebec Nordiques and Hartford Whalers moved in the 1990s, there have been contingents of fans in each city waiting, hoping, that an NHL team would return to a local arena.
The financial woes of any team over the last decade has brought out legions of fans wanting for the NHL to bring their team back, and Minnesota regaining a team after the North Stars left only gave fans in those cities more hope. The Phoenix Coyotes troubles has fans in Winnipeg begging for a second chance. Fans of the Nords recently took a bus trip to a New York Islanders game to show the NHL the market in Quebec City is still alive.
The debate about which city could support an NHL team again is only rivaled by the debate about which team should be relocated. We've setup a series of polls asking fans which of the current NHL teams that are in the bottom 10 of attendance can succeed.
It's a simple yes or no vote, and the reasoning is left up to you. Team management, arena situation - whether it's old or simply in the wrong location, economics of the market, television deals, or whatever else you see as the big reasons why a team may, or may not succeed in their current location.