Due to financial losses and ownership struggles, the team was frequently a target of relocation rumors. In later years, reports saw the team courted by suitors intending to relocate to Kansas City, Missouri; Quebec City, Quebec; Hamilton, Ontario or Winnipeg, Manitoba. On January 22, 2011, the team’s ownership group claimed it had lost US $130 million in the last six years, partially as a result of an ongoing lawsuit with former partner Steve Belkin. In February 2011, majority owner Michael Gearon stated that the team would be seeking new investors. Various local groups announced their intent to purchase the franchise and keep it in Atlanta, but ultimately the team was sold to the Canadian group True North Sports & Entertainment.
On May 16, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that talks for a sale to True North Sports and Entertainment were underway. According to the Globe and Mail, a deal was finalized on May 20, 2011 to relocate the team to Winnipeg. The league later denied the report, but acknowledged that advanced negotiations between the two teams were underway and that commissioner Gary Bettman supported the move. Draft schedules were prepared that accommodated for the team’s move to Winnipeg, as True North sought to move the AHL team that played in Manitoba, eventually moving that team to St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador in Atlantic Canada.
Season ticket sales began June 1, 2011, with Manitoba Moose season ticket holders having priority. The team sought to sell 13,000 season tickets in an effort to prove its viability. Within the first three and a half hours the new franchise sold 1,870 packages to Moose season ticket holders. The number of season tickets sold jumped to 4,170 on June 2 and 7,158 on June 3. Season tickets opened to the general public on June 4 and sold out in just 17 minutes. Once the ‘Drive to 13,000’ was completed, TNSE started a season ticket waiting list, which was shut down after 8,000 people had signed up in two hours. In July 2011, tickets for the Oct 9 home opener versus the Montreal Canadiens were listed for an average price of $1,711 on Stubhub, with an average selling price of $713
True North stated that the announcement of the team’s name would not be made until after the successful completion of the season ticket drive at the absolute earliest. The team was not to be named the Thrashers, since True North did not acquire the name in the transaction, and the rights to that name and the Thrashers logo were retained by the ownership group in Atlanta.
The MTS Centre is an indoor sports arena and entertainment venue located at 300 Portage Avenue in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The arena is the home of the Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League and previously served as the home of the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose (now the St. John’s IceCaps) from 2004 to 2011. Beginning in the fall of 2015, it will serve as the home of that same franchise again, as the Jets have announced they are relocating it to Winnipeg again.
The Winnipeg Jets are a professional ice hockey team based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team is owned by True North Sports & Entertainment and plays its home games at the MTS Centre.
Atlanta – Winnipeg
1999 – Present / National Hockey League
2011 – Present / Winnipeg Jets
1999 – 2011 / Atlanta Thrashers
Jets – The Winnipeg Jets, formed in late 1971, got their moniker from a team of the same name that played in Canada’s Western Hockey League. The current franchise is actually the second incarnation; the first relocated to Phoenix, Arizona in 1996 and became the Phoenix Coyotes.
Stanley Cup 0
2018 – Present / Bell MTS Place
2011 – 2017 / MTS Centre
1999 – 2011 / Philips Arena
2011 – Present / True North Sports and Entertainment
2003 – 2011 / Atlanta Spirit, LLC
1999 – 2003 / Time Warner
99 Wayne Gretzky
*Blue is this team’s history