No word whether Spirit, True North are in negotiations

It is unclear this morning if the Thrashers have been granted  permission by the NHL to begin negotiations with True North Sports and Entertainment, the entity that would purchase the franchise and move it to Winnipeg, or if those talks have already begun.

However, it does appear the situation is headed in that direction. All attempts to find a buyer with the intention – and wherewithal – to keep the franchise in Atlanta have not moved past the preliminary stage. After signing a non-disclosure agreement for an initial look at team financial records, a prospective buyer must provide proof of the financial assets to complete a sale. No interested party has done so to this point. Time is running out.

As I was told and reported this week, things could move quickly in regard to a sale and relocation. Although, contrary to reports, it won’t get done by this weekend.

There is also no timetable on the possible completion of a deal with True North. It is also not known if such an agreement could be reached in time for next season. The structure for a deal could be in place as True North had first hoped to acquire the Phoenix Coyotes, owned by the NHL, until a resolution was reached to kept the team in Arizona for another season earlier this week. The Glendale City Council voted to pay $25 million to the NHL for operating expenses to keep the team at least for next season.

NHL bylaws require that an owner seeking to relocate a team submit a written application to the commissioner by Jan. 1 of the year preceding the proposed move — “unless a majority of the [clubs] consents to a later filing date.” That clause and caveat leave open the question of whether a move, if a deal is reached, would be for the 2011-12 or 2012-13 season.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, speaking on NHL Live radio Thursday, said the situation in Phoenix differs from Atlanta.

“With respect to any other franchise, it comes down to ownership,” Bettman said. “It’s the reason we ended up leaving Quebec City and Winnipeg. Those teams moved when nobody wanted to own the club there anymore. If you get to that position, where somebody is not prepared to own the club anymore and you can’t find a new perspective purchaser, then you are really between a rock and a hard place.

“We know that the current ownership of the Thrashers has been trying for a long period of time to try and sell the franchise and they haven’t been able to do it. … If they can’t find local ownership, then we might all have to deal with that. But I know they have tried very hard and I assume that they continue to try very hard.”

Bettman echoed deputy commissioner Bill Daly’s statements to the AJC’s Jeff Schultz earlier in the day and would not guarantee that the Thrashers would be in Atlanta next season. Bettman said questions about the team’s future were not his to answer and referred them to team ownership.

393 comments Add your comment

McLellan

May 14th, 2011
4:41 am

How long can the NHL continue to survive? I think we could see retraction within the next 10 years. Moving teams isn’t a great idea. I think I’m going to start teaching my son to PLAY hockey and cheer for HIS team versus cheering for a bunch of adult infants getting paid loads of money and then watch my son weep when they leave. I’m tired of this debacle. I really don’t think, other than the top half to two thirds of the league, the NHL can maintain these 30 teams. As much as it pains me, it may be time cut bait and shut down teams. I really hate to say that but with the economy as it is, what other choice do we have?

hockeyfan88

May 14th, 2011
6:17 am

I’m a hockey fan from California GO DUCKS!!!! But seriously a hockey team in Atlanta??? That is the coolest thing EVER!!! (I know your team has been around so this is not the first time I heard about the Thrashers) I hope they don’t move the Thrashers to stupid Winnipeg or wherever in Canada. Hockey is an amazing sport and I love it so much!!! I mean a hockey team in Raleigh and Nashville and 2 teams in Florida? That is amazing! I may not be a Thrashers fan, but I stand by you Thrashers fans to keep your team in Atlanta! If I was wealthy, I would SOOOO buy a hockey team…..by hockey team I mean your team :) and I would make it a great team!!!! Any city can have a hockey team no matter where it is as long as you have:
1. Excellent Owner who goes through great lengths to make the franchise work
2. An arena to play
3. Sell tickets at a reasonable price
4. Hire a great coach
5. Have excellent scouts that can find the best players to play for your team in the upcoming season!!!!
I may have forgotten some steps but I think you all get my point. Hope alot of you in Atlanta and throughout Georgia read this. It may not make you feel any better about the situation but know that a hockey fan in California is with you guys to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta :) come on I want to see my team kick your team’s butt LOL. One final thing: Change your goal horn SONG 2 ROCKS just not Ole! Try BOOM by P.O.D someone on YouTube made an edited video of a Thrasher game and added it in there :)

teddybaxter7

May 14th, 2011
8:15 am

The financial landscape (True North ownership sports a billionaire owner)has changed since the Jets left Winnipeg (read, a facility that is in the top ten in North America for revenue) and the current ownership of True North gets the luxury of all revenues from the arena and a salary cap that did not exist when the Jets left. Come one Atlanta, don’t sing it bring it! This is your second kick at an NHL team. And as much as Winnipegers detest Gary Bettman, if you don’t buy tickets, dont expect ownership to continue to lose money.

kovyoverrated

May 14th, 2011
8:25 am

Would’nt you love to come home and tell your wife and kids that they have to sell the house in Sugarloaf (somehow) and move to beautiful Winnepeg?

Flagstaff

May 14th, 2011
8:29 am

hockeyfan88: It’s funny you should say that about the goal songs– they did exactly that in about February! Now, we have Song 2 and Boom, respectively. Thanks for your kind words, and come back anytime.

TheAntiMe

May 14th, 2011
8:42 am

If the ASG causes Atlanta to lose it’s second NHL franchise then every single owner in the ASG ownership needs to be sleeping right next to bin Laden.

The Balkan

May 14th, 2011
9:11 am

The fact is there is little truth to what a lot of you are spouting. “If we had a good team the people would come.” Let me take you back to Monday December 6th. The Thrashers were in the middle of winning 6 out 7 and in the thick of the points battle. Attendance for that night…..10,024. Moving to 12/16 vs Carolina(division rival) attendance was 11,043. The interest just isn’t here….call the movers.

Sean

May 14th, 2011
9:24 am

Winning has to be sustained over long periods of time with several trips to the playoffs and making runs at the Stanley Cup. Winning 6 of 7 while certainly is nice and something you can brag about it is not going to build the fanbase.

The Balkan

May 14th, 2011
9:44 am

Sean…..never mind building a fan base…it didn’t get anyone excited!

TheAntiMe

May 14th, 2011
9:56 am

Yeah, Balkan, and you should probably find someone to move a brain into that block of ice of yours. When an ownership comes into a franchise with the plan of spending no more that the 29th highest amount of money in a 30 team league and just hoping that by some miracle that they can still somehow make money, in spite of the vastly inferior product that they are providing, then the hockey fans of Atlanta should get a medal for being as patient as they have been.

And the fact that the best that you can come up with is a string 7 games in the 9 years that the ASG has held the Thrashers hostage should give even you a clue of how badly the hockey fans of Atlanta have been screwed by this sorry excuse for an ownership known as the ASG.

BirdsStaySouthThisWinter

May 14th, 2011
10:05 am

I worked for Atlanta Spirit for one year, and it was an utter disaster. They mis-managed every aspect of the business and constantly ran good people off, with a very high turnover rate in the sales and marketing groups. This is no way to find to achieve positive growth. Prior to joining the organization I was a very successful sales executive for another NHL franchise, but ASG could care less. I have great experience in the field of ticket sales and sports marketing with plenty of outstanding ideas that I guarantee would increase the number of butts in the seats at Philips Arena. Get me in front of a prospective local buyer who cares about the Thrashers and keeping hockey in Atlanta and it would all be worthwhile!

Brendan

May 14th, 2011
10:30 am

Nobody can make attendance arguments post-lawsuit, for the Thrashers. I suppose we could talk about attendance in 2005-06, when the team has a max cap opening night budget, and perhaps, stretching it to the max, we could talk about 2007, when they ended the year at near max cap. But from the point of the NYR sweep on, fans sussed out what the AS, LLC was all about. No accountability over the disasterous trade deadline deals, that saw Atlanta sacrifice a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick, plus Metropolit, for Keith Tkachuk, Coburn for Zhitnik, Vishnevsky for Belanger, and Bourret for Dupuis + a 3rd rounder to New York.

Coach Hartley wasn’t even fired until six games into the 2007-08 season. And Waddell is still has a desk with this stuff on it, in the office space of the Atlanta Spirit, LLC. That’s not how to operate a team “trying to win.” So, I don’t care if Atlanta rattled off 15 straight wins, if the fans don’t have faith in the ownership/management of the team, they’re not going to come out to support it. Not properly, anyway. Look back to 1999-2000, for an NHL attendance record for an expansion team, and you’ll find where the true interest in hockey was. After letting Audette, Brunette, Staios, Savard, the rights to Stephane Robidas go … it became clear that the intent and commitment level from ownership was lacking in proportion to the fan support it was receiving. Atlanta sports fans aren’t stupid, and don’t throw ‘blind support’ behind a product. If ownership is demonstrably committed, the fans will come. No one should expect support of this ownership group. That fact that 10,000 fans are willing to IGNORE who owns this team, to show up anyway, speaks to volume of hockey fans who will come, in spite of it all. I have no doubt that this team would be averaging 16,000 fans a night for a meaningless game in mid-Decemeber, in mid-week, if it were a consistent 50-win, 100-point type producer, with ownership within hovering distance of the cap limit every year. The discerning Atlanta fan … can figure out what’s going on. This market, sports-wise, isn’t stupid. If you’re an owner of a sports team, and you’re spending money, and holding players, coaches and managers accountable for results, the fans take notice of it. They’ll support you.

Sean

May 14th, 2011
10:40 am

I know we all want the Thrashers to stay but if there is some sort of deal to re-locate I think the Manitoba Moose should be part of that deal and they would be brought to Atlanta and could be re-named the Atlanta Thrashers and we’d have Thrashers hockey at the AHL level.

MrBill

May 14th, 2011
10:49 am

That would be a great idea because the Moose would have to relocate anyway.

MrBill

May 14th, 2011
10:50 am

But one question who would own the team and do we trade the ownership as well ?

G52PIM228

May 14th, 2011
10:58 am

I seriously doubt TNSE is actually trying to move a 60 million dollar payroll team into tiny inadequate MTS, have they made an announcement on the subject..

too many on the ICE

May 14th, 2011
11:01 am

I head Dan Kamal is trying to see if his contract will carry over to the new city. My source is very reliable and close to the situation.

Sean

May 14th, 2011
11:02 am

No there hasn’t been any announcement and there probably won’t be until a final deal is done. TNSE would probably sign a no-disclosure agreement before getting into any kind of talks with ASG. I think that is kind of bogus though i’m sure the fans in Winnipeg want to know what is going on just like we do.

G52PIM228

May 14th, 2011
11:03 am

Lets assume the NHL did want to relocate a franchise.. Folks are aware that the NHL is not limited to previously failed markets, right..

Seriously ANY place that promises to build an adequate facility would have to be in line ahead of a community that insists a tiny inadequate facility is “good enough” for the NHL..

Sean

May 14th, 2011
11:07 am

MrBill, TNSE currently owns the Moose so they’d probably have to give them up in return for the Thrashers(If such a deal took place) then there would have to be a local buyer interested in bringing the Moose to the ATL which i’m sure owning an AHL team is cheaper than owning an NHL team.

G52PIM228

May 14th, 2011
11:09 am

Sean, the Moose are profitable, do you really think that TNSE is going to give that up for Darren Fraud’s already failed NHL dream..

Sage of Bluesland

May 14th, 2011
11:14 am

I’ve given up on the team being here–all signs have pointed to it for a long time now. My only hope remains is that Don Waddell gets the hell out of town, after defrauding the good people for so many years.

Only about ten years too late….but, such it is with incompetent and uncaring ownership, coupled with too many ignorant sheep and their wittle spweadsheets and their “incremental progress”…

Too bad it took so many of you so long to see the obvious.

G52PIM228

May 14th, 2011
11:18 am

Has there been any type of announcement that TNSE is even trying to get a team.. A press conference, media release, cryptic note, ANYTHING??

Sean

May 14th, 2011
11:21 am

Yeah I don’t think it looks good either, I imagine we’re all anticipating the dreaded headline “Thrashers leaving ATL for Winnipeg”.

G52: Winnipeg wants an NHL team back and the Coyotes were there first choice since that is where they originally came from, but with the Yotes staying for now anyway I imagine TNSE has turned its attention on the Thrashers.

MrBill

May 14th, 2011
11:21 am

Hey I took a ride out to the Ice forum this morning where the Thrashers practice and I saw a mayflower moving truck backed up to the dock and they were loading something not sure what they were loading could have been equipment of some sort. Noboby would say anything.

G52PIM228

May 14th, 2011
11:26 am

Sean,

What I am looking for is ANY evidence AT ALL that “TNSE has turned its attention” to ANYTHING.. Other than providing some leverage to get a deal in Glendale done, TNSE has shown NO interest in joining the NHL.. TNSE built the MTS woefully inadequate for the NHL for a REASON..

G52PIM228

May 14th, 2011
11:32 am

An NHL team in loserpeg only benefits a handful of brain dead jets zealots and no one else.. All the other Canadian small markets lose money, so the NHL can’t be excited.. The building is inadequate so TNSE can’t be excited.. Only a few kids that remember the going away rally even care..

Nobody went to the Jets games but EVERYONE went to the good-bye rally..

MrBill

May 14th, 2011
12:04 pm

I’m buying the thrashers I have check made out $150 million.

G52PIM228

May 14th, 2011
12:06 pm

Well, we have heard from Bill, any word from TNSE..

G52PIM228

May 14th, 2011
12:57 pm

Funny how silence from the NDA signers in Atlanta is a sure sign they do not exist, while at the same time TNSE’s silence is a shrewd business maneuver and the right way to do things..

East Point Bob

May 14th, 2011
1:17 pm

I will gladly throw each asg owner off the flight deck of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson, alive or dead, makes no difference, these liars deserve it and I, for one, hope they all get, esp… that Rutherford Snydel
thing who lied on opening night 2007, about “doing everything we can to bring the Stanley Cup to Atlanta.” I hope and prey to GOD above that when his time comes, his soul goes straight to HELL !

Gwinnett Fred

May 14th, 2011
2:03 pm

Anybody got an American Express Unlimited Gold Card I can borrow??

EA

May 14th, 2011
2:05 pm

jebediah

May 14th, 2011
2:16 pm

G52 now trolling the AZ site HAHAHHAHAHA. How’s phx doing buddy?
G52 is upset that wpg will have an NHL team AND BILLIONAIRE owner… and yes, it has been reported TSNE is in search of NHL team… Read the NHL section wpg freepress.

Rhythmpenguin

May 14th, 2011
2:32 pm

Thanks everyone who has posted links for videos and articles.

wpgJetsfan

May 14th, 2011
2:34 pm

G52PIM228,

WOW now you’re trolling the Atlanta Boards? Get back to your WELFARE COYOTE Boards.

G52PIM228

May 14th, 2011
2:42 pm

Still not a peep from TNSE.. Nice how a bunch of idiots are so willing to spend a billionaire’s money without his consent..

Old School

May 14th, 2011
2:56 pm

Good Bye Thrashers – ya can’t get moved out of the area fast enough for me……you are nothing but a major bust and have been for a long time! Good Riddance!!!!

chaz

May 14th, 2011
3:10 pm

G52, give it up! Phoenix is still there (for now), why are you here throwing mud? Everyone on this board has been mature and posts smart thought out comments. There is no room here for immaturity. Leave that on your own message board. This comment section is a pleasure to read. Lets leave it that way. Please!

TNSE, and David Thomson, don’t do business in public. That is also common knowledge.

G52PIM228

May 14th, 2011
3:13 pm

“That is also common knowledge.”

Because you can read David Thompson’s mind.. Got it..

G52PIM228

May 14th, 2011
3:16 pm

angryATLfan

May 14th, 2011
3:34 pm

get off our boards G52. ATL does not need phx welfare comments. You are not wanted here. ATL has already said goodbye to NHL hockey… PHX will be doing so shortly.

G52PIM228

May 14th, 2011
3:42 pm

The NHL is about as interested in the loserpeg market as they are Kabul.. The team might move but it will NEVER go to loserpeg, their insistence that an AHL facility will be good enough makes it IMPOSSIBLE..

ben

May 14th, 2011
3:53 pm

I feel that this is a chep stunt on the part of the ajc and various other media outlets around town, most of whom are owned by the same people. why are there not CREDIBLE MAIN-LINE NEWS OUTLETS in Canada reporting this? Why has it not shown up on the ESPN crawler? Why is there a story on ESPN.com refuting the whole thing? Why is the Winnepeg Free Press silent? And another thing, I find it odd that perspective owners, who alledgedly don’t exist one minute, are alledgedly talking to the host of a Facebook fan site the next. Maybe, no comment isn’t a bad thing. Maybe Bettman can’t comment on a non story.

Also, does anyone know, not conjecture, not speculation, but KNOW what the standards of truth in reporting are in Canada? I know here in America, media outlets might get in real trouble if they lie about the news, is the same true in Canada?

wpgJetsfan

May 14th, 2011
3:55 pm

Ben,

Well as Gary Lawless said on the Winnipeg Free Press, no one is talking right now. No sources, or anything. It’s all a HUSH.

If any information that comes out is coming out from the Atlanta Media aka this site. At least your media covers the Thrashers unlike the Welfare Coyotes.

So if your media is saying things a dire and nothing in Canada media is saying anything, then things could be dire. Honestly I still felt that the Atlanta Market should’ve been saved over the Phoenix one.

BobbyG

May 14th, 2011
3:58 pm

rumor mill is flying….Developing news on the Thrashers will come out today…..

G52PIM228

May 14th, 2011
3:59 pm

“standards of truth in reporting are in Canada?”

My experience after digesting two years of north of the border coverage of this issue is that journalistic integrity is of no concern, it is all about rabble rousing and internet traffic..

Cornbread

May 14th, 2011
4:05 pm

So “The Balkan” cherry picks some Monday and Thursday night numbers in the traditionally hit or miss mid-December to try and prove a wrong point. If he were actually at the very next game of December 18 with 17,000+ fans he would know just how FOS he and everyone else is who spout this crap. BTW, that’s 1,500+ more than can fit in the Peg’s tiny not up to NHL standards arena.

I was there that night. Even was fortunate enough to make it on the Kiss Cam along with the Bennings. Eric Boulton got a hat trick and the Thrashers absolutely annihilated the Devils. As the thousands of fans ushered the Devils out of Phillips Arena in the concourse to the chants of “LET’S GO THRASHERS!”, people believed again. I have not heard or felt that excitement at a Thrashers’ game since their sole playoff appearance 4 years prior.

A feeling of this team is good and for real was finally starting to return. The next two home games saw 14,600+. One a Tuesday night game and the other a day after Christmas Sunday matinee in a snow storm game that I travelled 2+ hours to get to. The last December game saw the Thrashers beat the Bruins in front of 17,600+ on a Thursday night.

Unfortunately, the Thrashers of old returned in the next two months and lost all that momentum they had going for them. Had they continued to win, attendance would have continued to increase. In the end it was the same old Thrashers in many fans minds but still they managed to have numerous late season games of 16 and 17,000+. How many more thousands is that beyond the capacity of MTS Center? Point is, put a winning team on ice and there will not be an attendance issue. In fact, the attendance will be far greater than what could ever occur in the tiny Peg.

The ironic thing about the Peggers’ stupid attendance argument is that their team – should they ever manage to get one – would always be at or near the bottom 20% year after year – and that’s IF they sell-out all 41 games!

G52PIM228

May 14th, 2011
4:08 pm

Loserpeg would be perpetual revenue sharing recipients because the BEST they can hope is to be 24th in attendance.. Where the NHL is concerned, MTS is the punchline to a joke, not a suitable venue..

[...] According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta Thrashers could be sold to True North Sports and Entertainment who would likely move the team to Winnipeg. [...]