Tag: Atlanta Thrashers sale

Andrew Ladd

Should Winnipeg name their team the Jets? Andrew Ladd sees both sides of argument


If you ask many observers, True North Sports and Entertainment would be crazy not to name the relocated Atlanta Thrashers the Winnipeg Jets.

First and (you would think?) foremost, it’s what the fans want. Yes, it’s true that True North already banked on a staggering commitment from locals to look up 13,000 season tickets for multiple years in the blink of an eye. Still, merchandise sales* and general fan happiness are factors they should absolutely keep in mind and naming the team the Jets will leave a lot of customers pleased.

On the other hand, True North has some reasons to shy away from the Jets name. One big reason would be that they want to make it their own team, so piggybacking on an old idea might take some of the personal satisfaction away. Perhaps a more pertinent reason to go with a different title is that some might think that the Jets name carries a stain of failure with it. Maybe the best way to avoid a similar fate is to wipe the slate clean altogether?

Andrew Ladd sees both sides, discusses restricted free agent status

The Winnipeg Sun caught up with Andrew Ladd to get his take on the subject. Ladd makes an interesting brain to pick; he was last season’s team captain but also remains an unrestricted free agent. If he follows the team to Winnipeg, would he prefer to be a Jet, Moose or some other wacky mascot? It seems like he understands the logic from both sides of the equation.

“I’d love it. It’s got history,” Ladd, the first member of the former Atlanta Thrashers to hit town, said, Thursday. “I was talking to (former Chicago teammate and Winnipegger) Cam Barker the other day, and he was like, ‘There might be a riot if they go in a differnt direction.’ I’m a big fan of the name.

“But it’s a new group, and I don’t think the success was there in the past and we want to start something new here, too.”

It’s interesting to get his perspective on the team’s new mascot, but it’s probably more important to focus on his thoughts on free agency.

Scheduled to become a restricted free agent, July 1, Ladd told reporters he hasn’t begun negotiations on a new contract with Kevin Cheveldayoff, but likes what he heard of the vision of the newly hired GM Thursday morning.

“And I trust it, too, which is a big thing,” Ladd said. “You need to trust people you’re going to work with and know that you’re in good hands. I have a lot of respect for Chevy and looking forward to working with him.”

Ladd’s negotiations could be rather interesting. He’s a restricted free agent, so much of the power is in Winnipeg’s corner. It might come down to how close the team thinks he’ll come to matching his surprising 29-goal output from the 2010-11 season.

Can Ladd duplicate his success from the 2010-11 season?

There are some reasons to think he can approach that level in future seasons. He reached the 49 point mark in 08-09 (just 10 short of last year’s 59) and he has the pedigree (Carolina made him the fourth overall pick of the 2004 draft) to indicate that he could be a legitimate producer. This was also the best chance he had to produce at the NHL level; he played a little more than 20 minutes per game in 10-11 (almost six minutes more than his career time on ice average of 14:23).

Then again, it’s probably true that he’s not an ideal option as a first liner. He also produced those numbers in a contract year, which is always a red flag for teams weary of getting burned.

Will Ladd be a Jet or whatever True North names the Winnipeg team? Could he play somewhere else entirely in 2011-12? We’ll find out the answers to both questions soon enough.

* – Some people might counter that a) people already own a bunch of Jets memorabilia and b) they’ll likely gobble up merchandise anyway, but a simple logo re-design would solve those complaints anyway. Say what you will about the “Buffaslug,” it didn’t exactly slow down Buffalo Sabres jersey sales. Plus, let’s face it: it’s pretty tough to mess up a logo that involves jets.

Nashville Predators hope to court jilted Atlanta Thrashers fans


One of the big reasons that an NHL team could conceivably work in Seattle, Washington is because it is such a short driving distance from Vancouver. The team would probably benefit from overflow from hockey fans who couldn’t get tickets to Canucks games.

While the distance is quite a bit further between Atlanta, Georgia and Nashville, Tennessee, it’s still a fairly reasonable 249 miles or about a four hour drive (according to Rand McNally). That might not be a convenient distance for a back-and-forth trip during the week, but perhaps hockey-hungry Atlanta residents might opt to make that trip during the weekend or on holidays?

Whatever the case, the Nashville Predators are trying to seize a solid opportunity to sell some extra tickets by courting jilted Thrashers fans. The Nashville Post reports that the Predators are still waiting on the Board of Governors’ vote to approve the Thrashers’ relocation, which is largely considered a formality. The Predators are hoping to sell a package of four to seven games, which focus on weekend contests. What might be most interesting, though, is that Predators games might actually replace Thrashers ones in the Atlanta market.

Parker said the package geared towards Atlantans will be between four and seven games, predominantly on the weekend and spread throughout the season.

“If we can play the former Thrashers, that’s a more appealing stand alone option. … We’d like to work with CVB for a package to make it a weekend. It’s four hours and 5 million people. You’d only need to obtain a sliver,” he said.

Rumors have also circulated that Fox Sports is looking to broadcast Nashville or Carolina Hurricanes games in the Atlanta market next season. Both Henry and Parker said the talk is premature with the BoG vote still pending, but that it’s an opportunity they’d clearly like to take advantage of, given that Atlanta’s large metropolitan area provides access to both a large fan base and a sponsor base. Henry noted that Fox is going to have a sports programming hole in a major media market that needs to be filled.

“If the move is approved by the Board of Governors, I assume there’s a big void of coverage. You are moving from 82 games to none, from 300 hours of coverage to zero, and I’m assuming there’s going to be hockey [on Atlanta television],” he said.

Could the Predators expand their swath even slightly into the Atlanta market? That remains to be seen, but they’re absolutely wise to give it a shot.

(H/T to On the Forecheck.)

True North: The Winnipeg team won’t be named the ‘Whiteout’

Winnipeg fans

The Web site Sports Logos.net created quite a bit of speculation this weekend when Chris Creamer reported that True North Sports and Entertainment* registered Winnipeg/Manitoba Whiteout as a trademark. Many people made the logical leap that the team might be called the Winnipeg/Manitoba Whiteout, with the former tantalizing the senses of the alliteration-loving masses.

If you were planning on bringing Wite-Out bottles to games to mock the Winnipeg Whatevers, you’ll do it without effect. The Winnipeg Free Press debunked that theory today and the logic behind their rebuke is pretty simple. Rather than serving as the team name, they registered the trademark for events when fans would all wear white, a tradition Winnipeg Jets fans practiced years ago (which everyone and their uncle have used to a sometimes-nauseating [and increasingly bland] effect since).

That seems pretty sensible, but True North will continue to deal with speculation like this until they announce the new team’s name. They cannot complain about it, either, after they promised to reveal their mascot once the Drive to 13 was completed. It took four minutes for that to happen on Saturday afternoon, but we’re still waiting for an answer.

Once it surfaces, we’ll let you know. In the mean time, feel free to vote on what the team name should be.

* – Apparently the company’s legal name was listed as “6282980 Manitoba Limited Partnership” in the paperwork, according to Creamer’s report.

Drive to 13 complete: Winnipeg season tickets sell out in 17 minutes

NHL in Winnipeg

To little surprise, the Drive to 13,000 season ticket holders was completed once tickets became available to the general public today. The more amazing part was the rapid speed in which it happened: Winnipeg fans reportedly only took four minutes to scoop up the 5,842 (or so) tickets that remained, while it took 17 minutes to process all the orders.

True North Sports and Entertainment is now compiling a season ticket waiting list for fans who weren’t able to get tickets. One cannot help but wonder if those waiting lists will rival the tradition of highly-contested ticket deals that Green Bay Packers fans are famous for in Wisconsin. (Pension Plan Puppets’ Chemmy said that they already have 4,000 fans on their waiting list, but that’s not an official number.)

One of the biggest questions for eager fans revolved around how well the Drive to 13 site would handle the huge rush of traffic that would hit its Web site around noon central time. ChrisD.ca reports that it was Ticketmaster’s Web site that ran slowly, instead.

With their stated goal of reaching 13,000 season tickets now a reality, we wait for True North to back up their promise by announcing the new team’s name. We’ll let you know the verdict once it is announced. In the mean time, here’s a quick statement from True North.

“The success of the campaign is a key ingredient to ensuring the sustainability and long-term viability of NHL hockey in this province,” said Jim Ludlow, President & CEO, True North Sports & Entertainment. “We look forward to seeing everyone this Fall at MTS Centre for opening night of regular season NHL hockey in Winnipeg.”

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was impressed with the speed of the sale.

“While I had no doubt the ‘Drive to 13,000′ would reach its destination, the remarkable speed at which it got there certifies the fans’ hunger for NHL hockey and their commitment to True North’s initiatives.”

Drive to 13 update: Remaining season tickets for Winnipeg games expected to go fast

Thrashers Future Hockey

It’s never safe to judge the success of a business venture when it’s the hot, new thing. Just look at a list of musical one-hit wonders, the disaster that was New Coke, failed TV shows, etc. and it’s clear that longevity is an important factor in judging something as a true success.

So we’ll need to wait and see if this Winnipeg 2.0 experiment succeeds beyond the 3-5 year investments that have already been (and will be) made, but the passion and money seems to be there in the beginning. As we discussed earlier, True North Sports and Entertainment’s pre-sale was a resounding success.

The Drive to 13 Twitter account revealed that the “P1” category sold out, meaning that most expensive season ticket packages will be available. If you believe this story in the Winnipeg Free Press, money might not be much of an object for hockey-starved Winnipeg fans either way, though.

“It is worth it for me to steal Internet to get these tickets. You can put that in the paper,” proclaimed Moorehead, a Brandon teacher. “I just want a seat. I would sit behind a wall in a three-quarters-obstructed seat all season long to get there.”

It is possible Moorehead will cry if he doesn’t get tickets.

Nearly every fan who gathered Friday night at the 4Play Sports Bar and Grill expressed a sense of genuine panic at the looming ticket frenzy. There are only about 5,800 season tickets left and exponentially more people vying for them. Everyone said they weren’t fussy about which “P” — for price point — their seats were in. They’d take anything. And they expected everything to be sold out by 12:30 p.m., if not earlier.

“I don’t think anyone wants to be in the same room with me if I don’t get tickets,” said Shawn Knox, who changed his shift at the city’s 311 information line so he could be home at his computer at noon.

As much as we feel for jilted Atlanta hockey fans, it is beautiful to see how passionately Winnipeg is embracing its second chance to succeed as an NHL market, even if the small Canadian city faces an uphill battle in some ways. We’ll keep you updated about the Drive to 13, especially since we could find out the team’s new name shortly if True North keeps their promise.