Atlanta Thrashers’ Move to Canada Not Confirmed, Winnipeg Mayor Says

A potential agreement to move the National Hockey League’s Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, Manitoba, hasn’t been confirmed, said Sam Katz, the Canadian city’s mayor.

“Right now there is no official announcement,” Katz said today in an interview. “Until there is, it’s just a lot of discussion, talk and speculation. I can say everyone here is feeling extremely positive.”

The Globe and Mail newspaper reported last night, without saying where it got the information, that Atlanta Spirit LLC has agreed to sell the Thrashers to True North Sports & Entertainment and move the team to Winnipeg. True North owns the MTS Centre, the city’s arena, the newspaper said.

Last night, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in an interview in Tampa, Florida, before the playoff game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins, that there is no agreement to move the team.

“Not true,” Thrashers President Don Waddell said in an e- mail about the Globe & Mail report.

True North spokesman Scott Brown also said in an e-mail that no deal was done.

Katz said by telephone that hockey fans in the Manitoba capital have been looking forward to a new NHL team since the Winnipeg Jets left in 1996 for Phoenix.

“When it comes to passionate and knowledgeable hockey fans, Winnipeg ranks up there with any other city in North America,” Katz said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Donville in Vancouver at cjdonville@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net; Jay Beberman at jbeberman@bloomberg.net.

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