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Winnipeg's True North attempting to land WHL franchise to share MTS with Jets

 
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02-17-2013, 10:21 PM
  #1
paul-laus
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Winnipeg's True North attempting to land WHL franchise to share MTS with Jets

Does anybody have an idea of what franchise could have been available? Swift Current maybe?



Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Talks between True North and WHL team break off

By: Gary Lawless


True North Sports and Entertainment has reportedly been kicking the tires on a Western Hockey League franchise.

Word leaked out this weekend that True North had been having talks with a WHL owner about purchasing a franchise but they have now broken off.

True North spokesman Scott Brown would not discuss the matter saying only the organization would not be addressing the report.

A WHL franchise housed out of MTS Centre makes sense on a number of fronts. The Jets are sold out for a number of years and there is a vast market of hockey fans under-served in the city. True North has the infrastructure in place and a sales staff that could be mobilized to sell WHL tickets.

The WHL board of governors met in Las Vegas just over a week ago and there was no report on a sale of a franchise to be relocated to Winnipeg.

"Certainly Winnipeg could be on the radar at some point given that the model has worked well in Calgary and Edmonton. It did not however come up at our recent Board of Governor meetings," said Wheat Kings owner Kelly McCrimmon.

Three teams in the WHL operate in NHL cities with clubs in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. The Oilers owns and operate the Oil Kings in Edmonton while the Flames own the Calgary Hitmen. The Vancouver Canucks do not own the Vancouver Giants.

Those three teams are highly successful holding down three of the top four spots in WHL attendance last season.

WHL commissiner Ron Robison has gone on the record saying Winnipeg is a market the league would like to be in.

"If there was to be relocation certainly from an Eastern Conference standpoint, our first priority would be Winnipeg. We really feel that we can be successful in an NHL market now, in a similar way we’ve done so in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton successfully," Robison said during last year’s WHL playoffs.


Last edited by paul-laus; 02-17-2013 at 10:36 PM..
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02-18-2013, 09:45 AM
  #2
No Fun Shogun
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Makes sense, I suppose. There's obviously an untapped demand still there, so they're leaving money on the table with "just" the Jets.

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02-18-2013, 11:04 AM
  #3
I am the Liquor
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Pretty good idea imo. It may help financially and it could be used as a Jets farm team for their prospects like the Oilers are doing.

Only problem is there is already an imbalance between the EC and the WC. They would almost surely have to move Kootenay to the WC if they brought in another EC team. Not sure if that would put an extra financial burden on them or not.

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02-19-2013, 02:27 AM
  #4
Royal Canuck
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Not a bad idea, although working a schedule around the Jets could be tough at times.

I'd be down for it.

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02-19-2013, 08:54 AM
  #5
Rowdster
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Potential Players - be prepared for the bus trips!

If a Major Junior team becomes a reality in Winnipeg there will be some serious bussing time! Also, may be difficult recruiting East Coast boys to play in -40°c! However, the positives would be an instant Wheat King rivalry and the fact that fans would be able to actually get affordable tickets! Hopefully this franchise would not affect the Winnipeg Blues (MJHL - Jr 'A')....
I would call them the Winnipeg Bone Chillers!

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02-19-2013, 10:52 AM
  #6
NorthStar
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That would be nice to have a WHL team in Winnipeg for me to follow and go to games... might be ideal.. just question is who would the WHL team be to relocate?? Heard that Prince George Cougars could be in bad shape due to the remote location up in PG in the mountain area? Or what about other teams with maybe lease issues?? If a Winnipeg WHL team show up, might be a Manitoba rivalry with the Brandon Wheat Kings that would be great...

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02-19-2013, 03:43 PM
  #7
Rocko604
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Not surprised to here this at all. Don't know if TNSE could say to those on the waiting list "Hey, if you want to stay on the list for the Jets, you have to buy WHL tickets", that would be pretty greasy. That being said I doubt they would have a problem selling WHL tickets, and I'm sure those on the waiting list would snap some up.

As for who they could buy, Swift Current, Prince Albert, PG or Kootenay would be my guesses.

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02-20-2013, 12:29 PM
  #8
NorthStar
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As for who they could buy, Swift Current, Prince Albert, PG or Kootenay would be my guesses.
Hmm I know that Swift Current has some sort of lease issues? as for Prince Albert?? whoa... and Kootenay? ohhhh didnt know that there might be problems... hmm would be interesting to see the reports on the 4 teams mentioned above and see what the real case involving that...

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02-20-2013, 01:07 PM
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phillipsj89
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Not surprised to here this at all. Don't know if TNSE could say to those on the waiting list "Hey, if you want to stay on the list for the Jets, you have to buy WHL tickets", that would be pretty greasy. That being said I doubt they would have a problem selling WHL tickets, and I'm sure those on the waiting list would snap some up.

As for who they could buy, Swift Current, Prince Albert, PG or Kootenay would be my guesses.
PG is not movin anywhere. Owners use it as a tax write-off, without that team they are screwed . Also that would make 9 teams in the west conf.

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02-20-2013, 01:40 PM
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Jamie Benn
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PG is not movin anywhere. Owners use it as a tax write-off, without that team they are screwed . Also that would make 9 teams in the west conf.
I don't understand why Kootneay isn't in the Western Confrence.

I understand yeah it's farther away from everything. But the Western Confrence has 10 teams and the East has 12. Only 2 teams in the West don't make the playoffs, while 4 in the east don't.

Swift Current has a solid fanbase, as well as Prince Albert if I recall.

Prince George's owner situation counts them out, Kootneay was a threat to move back when Victoria wanted a WHL team. My best bet would be Kootneay.

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02-20-2013, 01:48 PM
  #11
paul-laus
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Swift Current has a solid fanbase
really? Thats up for debate.

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02-23-2013, 10:54 AM
  #12
Wheathead
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I've heard rumours that the Broncos are on their last legs in Speedy Creek. It's the CHL's smallest major junior market. It would be hard prying the Broncos out of SC, but the city only has about 15,500 residents. Some WHL teams have crowds bigger than the entire city of Swift Current.

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02-23-2013, 01:02 PM
  #13
Taoiseach
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Not surprised to here this at all. Don't know if TNSE could say to those on the waiting list "Hey, if you want to stay on the list for the Jets, you have to buy WHL tickets", that would be pretty greasy. That being said I doubt they would have a problem selling WHL tickets, and I'm sure those on the waiting list would snap some up.
That would be kind of greasy, but 'WHL STHs who are already on the waiting list will get first priority' is quite a bit less so. Don't require your waiting list folkel to buy tickets, but give them a nice little perk for doing so.

Also, damn, I didn't realise that Swift Current was so small. It's smaller than Val-d'Or and Baie-Comeau!

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02-25-2013, 12:16 PM
  #14
Rocko604
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PG and Kootenay were my wild card picks. PG given their dismal profile and attendance, but wasn't aware they're the Charlestown Chiefs in the eyes of ownership. There were rumblings a couple years ago of Kootenay moving, possibly to Chilliwack but nothing came of it.

Swift Current has been brought up a number of times and Prince Albert was talked about as a Winnipeg destination, due to the state of their arena. http://saskatoon.ctvnews.ca/could-th...nipeg-1.749718

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02-26-2013, 01:33 AM
  #15
go_leafs_go02
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PG and Kootenay were my wild card picks. PG given their dismal profile and attendance, but wasn't aware they're the Charlestown Chiefs in the eyes of ownership. There were rumblings a couple years ago of Kootenay moving, possibly to Chilliwack but nothing came of it.

Swift Current has been brought up a number of times and Prince Albert was talked about as a Winnipeg destination, due to the state of their arena. http://saskatoon.ctvnews.ca/could-th...nipeg-1.749718
The Dub in Chilliwack is dead for now. There is such an acrimonious relationship between the BCHL Chiefs ownership and the WHL for what went on 2 years ago.

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02-26-2013, 03:13 PM
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PCSPounder
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It's been my understanding that Swift is "community owned" and thus not simply hard to remove, but damn near impossible.

The vultures have been circling over Kootenay for a while.

If NHL to Seattle happens, or even threatens to happen, there's an effect all over the US Division. If Vancouver takes over Abbotsford (which creates a NHL Seattle-puts-AHL-in-Everett temptation), doubly so. AHL has been whispered (if not discussed in the media) in Portland BY Winterhawks staff, so there's all sorts of possibilities for change going forward.

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02-27-2013, 12:40 PM
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Rocko604
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The Dub in Chilliwack is dead for now. There is such an acrimonious relationship between the BCHL Chiefs ownership and the WHL for what went on 2 years ago.
Yeah, I'm not holding my breath for the WHL to return to Chilliwack any time soon, if ever.

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If NHL to Seattle happens, or even threatens to happen, there's an effect all over the US Division. If Vancouver takes over Abbotsford (which creates a NHL Seattle-puts-AHL-in-Everett temptation), doubly so. AHL has been whispered (if not discussed in the media) in Portland BY Winterhawks staff, so there's all sorts of possibilities for change going forward.
I can't see a threat of NHL-in-Seattle having much of an effect on the US Division. Even if it did happen, I one of the few who thinks both the T-Birds and Tips would survive.

As for the AHL, it's not even worth speculating unless the Heat leave Abbotsford, the Canucks buy the Wolves (or another AHL franchise) and move them to Abby, and Seattle ends up buying their own AHL affiliate. Even then, Seattle would have to find space in Everett or Portland for their AHL team and that can't happen unless the Tips or Hawks somehow disappear.

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03-01-2013, 10:51 AM
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nilan30
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Come on WHL, just put a team in Thunder Bay

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03-01-2013, 11:19 AM
  #19
No Fun Shogun
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Come on WHL, just put a team in Thunder Bay
That's really the problem with Thunder Bay.... too far east for the WHL and too far west for the OHL.

I honestly think their best chance would be at landing an ECHL or AHL team, though that doesn't appear to be at all likely any time soon.

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03-01-2013, 01:05 PM
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nilan30
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That's really the problem with Thunder Bay.... too far east for the WHL and too far west for the OHL.

I honestly think their best chance would be at landing an ECHL or AHL team, though that doesn't appear to be at all likely any time soon.
Yeah they'd probably make more sense as Winnipeg's or Minnesota's AHL team than St John's or Houston do. A new arena is in the works and there are hopes that they can atrract an AHL or OHL team

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03-04-2013, 05:36 PM
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I don't understand why Kootneay isn't in the Western Confrence.

I understand yeah it's farther away from everything. But the Western Confrence has 10 teams and the East has 12. Only 2 teams in the West don't make the playoffs, while 4 in the east don't.

Swift Current has a solid fanbase, as well as Prince Albert if I recall.

Prince George's owner situation counts them out, Kootneay was a threat to move back when Victoria wanted a WHL team. My best bet would be Kootneay.
When Kootenay was in the BC division, all their away games were over several mountain passes. 7 hours to Kamloops, 12 hours to PG, etc. That's just ridiculous. They were moved to the Central because of proximity to Lethbridge, Calgary, etc. When Chilliwack came into the BC Division, it allowed Kootenay to move to a better travel time division. It also evened up the divisions. 5,5 and 6,6 which makes it a more level playing field when going for playoff spots.

Swift Current has been talked about forever about being moved, but the community owned team won't budge. You can count on that.

PG has a opt-out agreement for their arena lease based on attendance. Same with Kootenay. At this point, Kootenay is more likely to lose their team than PG IMO. As for other WHL teams...Moose Jaw and Lethbridge are looking pretty rickety. Lethbridge just needs to make the playoffs...it's been awhile for them.

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03-05-2013, 05:42 PM
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I like this move from TNSE. There are a lot of fans and former Moose season ticket holders who I know personally can't afford to go to Jets games while raising a family. Having the NHL is a nice platform for young kids to look up to, but having a team like the Moose was nice for full minor hockey teams able to take in live games as a group. That is something that isn't possible/affordable with the Jets but would be with a WHL team.

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03-06-2013, 08:22 PM
  #23
billybobjoe2112
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PG isn't moving anytime soon but are going to go through some very big changes after this season ends. The team from top to bottom is going to look very different in the near future. That is all I can say for now.

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03-09-2013, 10:58 PM
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With all due respect to Winnipeg WHL fans, I wonder if maybe the league already has too many teams in major cities. It would feel a little unseemly for the league to focus so much on the large cities when junior hockey is a game with its roots outside those centres. I would rather see the league place teams in mid-sized cities like Nanaimo, BC, or Grande Prairie, AB.

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03-17-2013, 02:38 PM
  #25
Rocko604
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With all due respect to Winnipeg WHL fans, I wonder if maybe the league already has too many teams in major cities. It would feel a little unseemly for the league to focus so much on the large cities when junior hockey is a game with its roots outside those centres. I would rather see the league place teams in mid-sized cities like Nanaimo, BC, or Grande Prairie, AB.
Unfortunately, it's all about arena size. Nanaimo and Grand Prairie, for example, do not have arenas big enough for today's WHL. Even if they did, you might find towns that size a bit hesitant to go after the WHL after what happened in Chilliwack. Of course, that team wasn't 100% locally owned and that played a lot into it. However, I still think it will leave an impression on bigger Junior A markets for years to come if a WHL opportunity presents itself.

On an unrelated note, I was really hoping the Giants would have played at Queen's Park Arena during the Olympics rather than Langley. I was born after the 70s Bruins had their heyday and wasn't old enough to enjoy the second incarnation. I've seen a few Mann Cup games in that arena, it's awesome when it's full and loud.

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