WHL And NHL’s Winnipeg Jets In The Same City?

WHL Hosting The MasterCard Memorial Cup

The annual Memorial Cup hockey tournament is now well under way this week in Saskatoon and the interest is very high.  This year because of all the high-end draft picks scattered throughout the participating teams.  It doesn’t hurt that every game is being broadcast by SportsNet either.  This has piqued the interest of local hockey fans and once again started the conversation about whether Winnipeg should pursue a WHL hockey team.  Before we even start to get into this story, I will pose the question right now.

Should TNSE Bring The WHL To Winnipeg And Would You Support This Team (requires 1 OR 2 answers)

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There were rumors floating around the City of Winnipeg in mid-February that True North Sports and Entertainment (TNSE)  had reportedly been in negotiations to buy a Western Hockey League franchise.  

The actual story that came out wasn’t that TNSE was looking into buying a team but that they had be involved in talks with a WHL owner that had broken off.  At the time, those rumors were never confirmed or denied by True North. 



A WHL Team In The MTS Centre Probably Makes Sense

 A WHL franchise playing out of the MTS Centre would give more hockey fans a chance to attend games the the downtown rink.  Jets tickets aren’t going to become readily available anytime in the new future.  The Winnipeg Jets have 13,000 sold out seats and a waiting list for 8000 more.  For fans that can’t get their hands on Winnipeg Jet tickets this would be a nice affordable alternative.

 If  TSNE  purchased a WHL team they already have a building, staff  and a large potential market.  Unlike their move from Atlanta this would almost turn-key. 


The WHL And NHL Co-existing Nicely In 3  Cities

The WHL already operate in 3 NHL cities with clubs in Edmonton (Oil Kings), Calgary (Hitman) and Vancouver (Giants).   The Oilers and the Flames own and operate their teams while Vancouver Canucks do not own the Vancouver Giants.  It’s not a surprise that those franchises are at the top of the league in attendance.  

What Will Winnipegers Say? 

Now 2 months after TNSE’s  half-hearted denial or non-denial they have admitted they might have some interest in a WHL team and are sending out an on-line survey to 10,000 people to test their interest.  

Time To Return To Winnipeg

If the WHL was being honest they would say that they really never had much of an appetite to return to Winnipeg.  The economic climate and TNSE presence have certainly changed that.  A WHL team would need to draw about 3000 fans per game with a  $15 – $25 ticket  price.  After a 30 year absence it’s probably time for the WHL to return to Winnipeg.


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