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Hockey Fans Wait for Official Word of NHL’s Return

May 24, 2011 7:33 AM | Sports

Winnipeg hockey fans will have to wait a little while longer for official word that professional hockey will be returning to the city.

Despite a report in the Globe and Mail last Thursday, a news conference announcing the Atlanta Thrashers will be relocating to Winnipeg will not be made today.

Reports over the weekend suggested the deal between True North Sports and Entertainment and Atlanta Spirit were still ongoing.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday that Victoria Day was holding up some final negotiations due to the bank holiday.

Reporter Chris Vivlamore said the deal could be finalized this week.

Numerous prices of the deal have been thrown around, but appear to be in the ballpark of $170 million, with the NHL receiving $60 million as part of a relocation fee, and $110 million going to the seller.

When, not if, the official announcement takes place, it’s expected the Manitoba Moose will then move to St. John’s, Newfoundland.

By diehard fans don’t need to see a news conference to begin celebrating. Within an hour of the unconfirmed report last week in the Globe, a small rally broke out at Portage and Main.

Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. welcomes a professional hockey franchise back to Winnipeg. “A major sports franchise like this one will raise the international profile of our city,” said president and CEO Marina R. James. “Combine this news with landmarks like The Forks, Canadian Museum for Human Rights and Upper Fort Garry and Winnipeg becomes a pivotal destination for visitor engagement.”

Tags: Hockey | NHL