Monday, May 07, 2007

Hockey hits the hustings

Last week it was the federal parliament of Canada using hockey to score political points (or as the case turned out lose them), this week it's the Province of Manitoba.

In what will no doubt be a crowd pleaser with the followers of the puck, the province's Conservative Party has promised to work to bring the NHL back to Winnipeg. Hugh McFadyen, the leader of Manitoba's Conservatives brought former Jet Thomas Steen to his announcement, suggesting that a Conservative government would work with the private sector to secure a franchise for the MTS Centre.

McFadyen threw out some trial balloons of lotteries and bond issues to lure the hockey fan, measures designed to help reduce the burden on the private money providers needed to return the NHL to the prairie city.

NDP leader Gary Doer has not commented yet on the Conservative plans, though we're sure that there will be no "puck gap" in the political skirmishing as the two parties head for an election day showdown of May 22nd. Though we wonder if it really is the kind of issue that should be of importance during an election campaign.

Bring pro hockey back to Winnipeg: Manitoba Tories
Canadian Press
May 7, 2007 at 1:02 PM EDT

WINNIPEG — Manitoba's provincial election campaign has turned its attention to hockey with the Conservatives promising to bring the NHL back to Winnipeg.

Standing alongside former Winnipeg Jet Thomas Steen, Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen said he'll work with the private sector to bring back the team, who left Manitoba a decade ago.

McFadyen won't say how much taxpayer money he'd be willing to put up, but says the government could follow Manitoba Hydro's example and raise money by issuing bonds.

He also says he would consider a special lottery to raise money as well as a players tax similar to one implemented in Alberta at one time.

The Tory leader says an NHL team would make Manitoba more attractive to young people and help stem the tide of university graduates who leave for Alberta.

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