NHL Back in Winnipeg? Could Happen!

(Montreal Gazzette) TORONTO – After years of false starts and false hope, hockey-obsessed Canada may finally reclaim its lost NHL team as speculation heated up this week that the league is set to return to Winnipeg 15 years after it left. In the latest twist to a saga that has tongues wagging over where cash-strapped NHL franchises could find a new home, the spotlight has shifted to the Atlanta Thrashers from a Phoenix Coyotes team that used to play in Winnipeg. The Manitoba capital has been ready to roll out the NHL welcome mat before, only to have the rug pulled out from under them each time. It could happen again, but all the signs point to a happy ending for Winnipeg hockey fans who have been put through an emotional wringer.

Yes! More hockey in Canada! Even though the report last night about the move being official was denied, it looks like this is bound to happen within days. Even though I feel bad for Thrashers fans in Atlanta, this is a good move for hockey. Overall, it was wrong for Bettman to put a team in Atlanta. The NHL tried it before with the Flames. Why would it work now? Cities like Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Quebec City deserve hockey teams. The NHL would be so much more popular if they had teams in cities that care about the sport. Places like Phoenix, Atlanta, and other southern cities don’t care about hockey as a whole. Yes there are die-hards down there, but it’s not enough to put the NHL fully back on the map in North America.

Winnipeg Superstar Teemu Selanne

Yes, I know the Islanders aren’t the best for the NHL either. They are the least popular team in New York who have had some of the worst attendance numbers in the last three seasons. But I strongly believe that Bettman would never move this franchise because it has had a great history. No franchise who has won the Stanley Cup has ever relocated. Along with the possibility of a new arena, I’m fully confident the Islanders will stay in Nassau. Winnipeg was heart broken when they lost their lone professional sports franchise in 1996. Let’s hope Bettman brings the Jets back not only for the fans in Winnipeg, but to also increase the popularity of this great sport.

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