The NHL will return to Winnipeg this fall at Atlanta's expense, as the announcement was officially made this morning that True North Sports & Entertainment has acquired the Atlanta Thrashers.
No Name Yet During the press conference regarding the sale and relocation of the team, it was asked whether a name had been decided. The new owners said it has not yet, though I'm sure a decision can't be more than a week or two away. Logos and jerseys need to be designed and produced by September.
2011 NHL Entry Draft It was also discussed that Winnipeg now has the 7th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft which takes place on June 24. It's too soon to know whether they'll have a jersey ready to give to their pick — or even a name for sure.
Board of Governors still need to approve Worth pointing out also is that the deal is still subject to Board of Governors approval at their next meeting on June 21. I can't imagine that will be a problem. There's a lot of information out there today in the Canadian media so I just wanted to get this on the blog so we could talk about names.
Winnipeg in Southeast Division While it wasn't mentioned during the press conference, reports have said there will be no divisional realignment prior to the season. That's because the schedule has probably already been completed. This means Winnipeg will be in the Southeast Division for the 2011-12 season. Expect realignment next summer.
Stanley Cup & Relocation This is the first time in 14 years that an NHL franchise will relocate — the last being the Hartford Whalers to North Carolina in 1997. Here's an odd stat: Of the four teams that moved south in the '90s, only the team that left Winnipeg has yet to win a Stanley Cup. The Stars, Avalanche, and Hurricanes each won a championship after moving, but never prior. (And for that matter, the Thrashers never won one either.)
I know most of you don't need me to say it but I'm sure there are a lot of younger readers here. This is the second time that Atlanta has lost an NHL team to Canada. The Atlanta Flames moved to Calgary in 1980.
Once of the features launched on the blog last summer was league Logo Maps. And just like with the Jersey Galleries, I plan to make some improvements and re-launch it this summer. Now there's been a significant change on the map, here's a sneak peek at the new series.
View NHL Map 2011— in a larger map
The map is completely interactive. You can zoom in or out and move around it as much as you like. You can even change to satellite view and zoom right down to each club's arena. Enjoy!