Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Which road leads to Winnipeg, if any?

As the Phoenix Coyote deliberations continue on and on and on, it seems that a new suitor for the affections of Manitoba hockey fans has come a callin'.

With Gary Bettman and the NHL seemingly ever so hopeful that some white knight will arrive to save the Coyotes from extinction in the desert, rumblings from the Deep south have begun to stir, warblings that the Atlanta Thrashers may be Winnipeg's Plan B, a prospect that perhaps will not be overly well received in Quebec, where the proponents of an NHL return for that province's capital city had cast covetous eyes on the Georgia songbirds.

With the NHL seemingly determined that hockey will somehow still have a place near the tumbleweeds and cactus, the current owners of the Thrashers it would seem are of the inclination to remove the burden of NHL ownership from the financial books.

Of course the NHL has issued no directive regarding the Atlanta franchise, so there's no paper trail to follow that may lead to downtown Winnipeg's MTS Centre, just the whispers of relocation that seem to hover over the Manitoba capital every time an NHL franchise finds that the credits column is looming larger than the debit one.

To their credit, Manitoba's hockey fans are keeping rather level headed about it all, perhaps part of the common sense approach often found on the prairies. Though one wonders if perhaps they may be getting a little weary of these American Big City slickers from the NHL continually using their hockey hopes as a bargaining chip for better deals from failing franchise locations.

A recent study, which was just released offers up the thought that both Winnipeg and Quebec City are viable markets, though there will be challenges in place for either location should the NHL ever make a return.

However, the biggest challenge it seems may be nailing down a commitment from Gary Bettman and the Board of Governors to actually move forward on the prospects.

This dance of a 1,000 veils thing, surely must be getting just a little bit tiring one would think!

Winnipeg Free Press-- Coyotes vote could be held Tuesday
Winnipeg Free Press-- City Councillor wades in NHL speculation
Winnipeg Free Press-- Winnipeg only option for Thrashers sale: source
Winnipeg Free Press-- NHL's Coyotes likely won't howl in Winnipeg, Katz says
Winnipeg Free Press-- Winnipeg's ready to play, decision's been made
Winnipeg Sun-- Another plan to save Coyotes?
Winnipeg Sun-- NHL to Winnipeg hopes just won't die
Sun Newspapers-- More proof for Winnipeg
Phoenix Business Journal-- New last gasp Phoenix Coyotes financing plan takes shape NHL chief Bettman calls Thrashers-to-Winnipeg rumors "Speculative and made up"
Globe and Mail-- Viability of NHL in Winnipeg and Quebec backed by report
Globe and Mail-- Will Winnipeg get left at the altar by NHL?
National Post-- NHL moves to Quebec, Winnipeg face hurdles: report
Toronto Star-- Loonie boosts odds of NHL success in Canada
Hamilton Spectator-- It takes more than fans to make it in the big leagues

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