Tag: Atlanta Thrashers sale


Winnipeg’s team name announcement should come today; Reports indicate it will be the Jets


During the “Drive to 13,” True North Sports and Entertainment implied that they would unveil Winnipeg’s new team name right after that sales drive was complete. That didn’t happen, of course, but there are rumblings that we’ll finally be able to fill in the blank sometime today.

The latest word from TSN is that True North plans to announce the new team name before making their first draft pick (the seventh selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft). Could the new team hand out jerseys with their new team logo during the draft itself? That much remains unclear, so we will just need to wait and see.

Want to let the hockey world know which team name would best fit this new Winnipeg club? Vote in this poll.

Update: If Elliotte Friedman of the CBC is correct, then the masses in Winnipeg will get what they wanted: to return of the Winnipeg Jets.

Report: Winnipeg chooses Claude Noel as their new head coach

Claude Noel, Chris Clark, Derek Brassard

The hockey world still doesn’t know what the new Winnipeg team will be called, but they’re getting just about every other base covered. True North Sports and Entertainment reached the 13,000 season tickets sold mark in a blink of an eye, named Kevin Cheveldayoff their new general manager and reportedly chose Claude Noel as their new head coach today.

Noel should be familiar to Winnipeg hockey fans after spending one season as the head coach of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. He also spent four seasons as the head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals and was an assistant coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets for three years. Noel had a brief stint as interim head coach of the Blue Jackets, coaching 24 games after Ken Hitchcock was fired in 2010.

It could be a challenging first year for Noel and the Winnipeg Whatevers. They’ll remain in the Southeast Division this season, likely putting a great amount of strain on the team during road trips. The former Atlanta Thrashers roster was in a transition, too, so it’s not as if he will enjoy an overwhelming amount of talent. (Unless, of course, Cheveldayoff re-makes the team with some star free agents.)

There are some rumors that the team name might finally be revealed during draft weekend, so stay tuned for that news and more.

NHL Board of Governors officially approve Atlanta Thrashers’ relocation to Winnipeg

NHL in Winnipeg

The NHL announced that its Board of Governors officially approved the relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers franchise to Winnipeg today. While most people probably look at this as a mere formality, it ultimately closes the door to the remaining Thrashers fans who were holding out hope that a miracle would keep their team in Georgia.

As expected, True North Sports and Entertainment becomes the official owner of the ex-Thrashers. The price followed the script too: the total sale was $170 million, with $110 million going to the Atlanta Spirit and a $60 million relocation fee paid to the NHL.

The league’s press release also confirmed the expectation that the unnamed Winnipeg team will remain in the Southeast Division with the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals. The Winnipeg team will then move to the Western Conference in the 2012-13 season, while it’s unclear which team will take its place in the East. (For discussion about division realignment, click here.)

True North executives were elated that everything is official.

“We are very honored by the NHL Board of Governors unanimous decision today,” said Mark Chipman, Chairman of the Board, True North Sports & Entertainment. “We know that the fans of this province have an appetite for NHL hockey that is rivaled by few in the league and intend to work very hard to make Manitobans proud of our franchise for years to come.”

Naturally, there was more than a bit of sadness on the Thrashers’ side.

“It’s a sad day for hockey fans in Atlanta, but the franchise is going to a good place and run by good people,” Thrashers president Don Waddell said. “I wish them well, because a lot of good people that are going to go with them.”

For NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s comments on the matter, read this post.

It’s a sad day for Thrashers fans and a great triumph for hockey-starved people in Winnipeg. Stay tuned over this summer as new GM Kevin Cheveldayoff narrows down a new coach, True North unveils the new name and many other developments chart the course for this relocated and drastically changing franchise.

Report: Winnipeg will interview head coaches candidates … including Craig Ramsay?

Craig Ramsay

New Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is reportedly interviewing other candidates for the team’s head coaching job, but in an odd twist, he will also give lame duck coach Craig Ramsay an interview. That’s the report from TSN’s sources, at least, which leaves Ramsay in a rather strange place.

Perhaps Ramsay might be willing to take an assistant coaching job rather than being fired? It’s hard to tell, but either way, it seems like a slightly awkward situation. Of course, it’s perfectly plausible that Ramsay could remain the head coach, but it would be a strange way to do it.

Either way, Ramsay would work in a very different environment if he remains with the team in some capacity … and not just because of a huge change in geography. The team already parted ways with former GM Rick Dudley, their scouting director Dan Marr and several staff members since the official relocation announcement was made on May 31, so he won’t see many familiar faces if he remains with the franchise.

It should be interesting to see how the new Winnipeg team will look next season, even if we’re being forced to wait to find out if the team will be the Winnipeg Jets or something else. We’ll keep you informed as that process continues over the summer.

Winnipeg fallout: Thrashers staffers face uncertain future, Manitoba Moose move

Craig Ramsay

While the new Winnipeg team remains without a name, the faces of the franchise are coming into focus. It doesn’t look like many of those faces will be ones that were associated with the Atlanta Thrashers franchise, either.

Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that key members of the coaching staff (such as head coach Craig Ramsay) remain in holding patterns regarding their future with Winnipeg. It’s hard not to wonder if Ramsay and others* will need to find new jobs once newly selected GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and the True North brass make a decision about their staff.

* – Vivlamore mentions associate coach John Torchetti, assistant coach Mike Strothers and video coach Tony Borgford as other coaches who are awaiting word from True North.

The trend of hiring “their guys” continued today as Vivalmore reports that trainers and other behind-the-scenes staffers from the Thrashers days were let go. In some cases, those employees were replaced by Manitoba Moose workers (True North also owns the Moose).

Several members of the Thrashers support staff have already been told they will not have positions with the Winnipeg franchise – including the equipment managers, athletic trainers and strength and conditioning coach. None were considered for positions despite their tenure with the Thrashers. Head equipment manager Bobby Stewart spent 12 years with the Thrashers and 26 years with the Flames organization in Atlanta and Calgary.

The Thrashers staff was informed of Winnipeg’s decision on Monday by Craig Heisinger, who was named Winnipeg’s senior vice president and assistant general manager. Heisinger was in Atlanta Monday, two days before being named to his new position, to inventory equipment and other physical assets of the sale.

Some might scowl at the decisions, but it’s important to note that True North didn’t hire the people associated with the Thrashers franchise. It’s reasonable to want to “buy your own groceries” so to speak, but Ramsay rightly hopes that they make their choices soon. Delaying those decisions will only make it tougher for spurned staffers to find work in the NHL, AHL or some other part of the hockey world and therefore make True North seem a tad bit cruel.

Should Winnipeg keep Ramsay?

Ramsay seems like the type of coach Winnipeg could use: a guy who is known for being a good “teacher” for young talent. With a roster full of youth and short on experience, it seems logical to keep him around. Then again, I thought it would be logical to keep Rick Dudley around as the general manager, but True North decided to can him for Cheveldayoff.

Moose on the move

Speaking of the Moose, TSN reports that the AHL approved the relocation of the team from Winnipeg to St. John’s, N.L. (Newfoundland and Labrador). The Thrashers relocation forced the move, but to little surprise, the Moose will be Winnipeg’s affiliate team in 2011-12.

Maybe one of these days those minor leaguers will even know what team they hope to play for?