It’s official. The Atlanta Thrashers are done. The Winnipeg and/or Manitoba Moose, Jets, etc. will rise from the ashes to give Canada one of its teams back. No truth to the rumors that Lou Lamoriello begged Gary Bettman to condition the sale and move on returning Ilya Kovalchuk. Lamoriello was apparently willing to pay the 15% restocking fee.
An agreement to sell the National Hockey League’s Atlanta Thrashers to a Winnipeg group which plans to relocate the franchise to the Manitoba capital is done.
Sources confirmed tonight that preparations are being made for an announcement Tuesday, confirming the sale and transfer of the Thrashers to True North Sports and Entertainment, which owns and operates the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League and the MTS Centre arena, which would become the NHL team’s new home.
Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the National Hockey League, is expected to travel to Winnipeg to make the news official.
The announcement would end months of speculation about whether one of the NHL’s financially-troubled American sunbelt teams might move north, filling the void left when the Winnipeg Jets packed up and left for Phoenix in 1996, where they became the Coyotes.
Edit: As I write this, I read that the deal may not be done but is close…perhaps the restocking fee is being renegotiated.