Tyler J. Altemose
The Winnipeg franchise set to make it's re-debut in the NHL next season isn't even officially an NHL team yet, but it's already fighting for a magic number.
"True North Sports & Entertainment Limited is pleased to announce it has entered into an agreement with Atlanta Spirit, LLC with respect to the purchase of the Atlanta Thrashers Hockey Club", the new Winnipeg franchise's owners announced on their ticket drive website.
The deal between the two ownership franchises was finalized around 4:30 AM EST and was announced during a conference this afternoon.
"It's nice to be back in Winnipeg after all these years," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
While complete, the deal still needs approval by the NHL's Board of Governers when they meet on 21 June.
Until then, fans in Winnipeg have a job to do.
The team needs to sell 13,000 season tickets between 1 June and 21 June. That is their "magic number", appropriately termed by Jeff Marek of CBC Sports. According to James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail, all season ticket packages will require a commitment of three to five years. Prices per seat will range from $39 to $129, with an average of $82 per seat. Full season ticket prices will range from $1,755 to $5,805.
To put things in perspective with the rest of the league, Darren Dreger of TSN reported that the Winnipeg franchise's ticket prices are comparable to those of the Ottawa Senators, Calgary Flames, and Edmonton Oilers.
It is widely speculated that due to the narrow window of time between the Board of Governers' approval and the beginning of the 2011-12 season that the Winnipeg franchise will remain a part of the Southeast division next season. NHL realignment should then take place the following year.
As far as the team's financial situation is concerned, Matthew Wuest of Capgeek has reported that the Winnipeg franchise will essentially pick up where the Atlanta Thrashers left off.
For the record, only the New York Islanders spent less cap money last season. The new Winnipeg franchise will have plenty to work with. You can read his full story on Winnipeg's cap situation here.
And for those wondering, the Winnipeg franchise has yet to be named. This is according to True North Sports Chairman Mark Chipman. According to James Mirtle, the "Jets" name is still trademarked by the NHL and is available per Gary Bettman.
"Hockey in Canada has never been stronger," Bettman exclaimed. "We get to be back in a place we wish had not left in 1996."
More to come on this story as the situation develops.