In conjunction with the announcement of its purchase of the Atlanta Thrashers from Atlanta Spirit, LLC, True North Sports & Entertainment Ltd. kicked off its Drive to 13,000 season tickets campaign.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring the National Hockey League back to Winnipeg,” said Mark Chipman, chairman of the board for True North. “Given the passion for NHL hockey that we know exists amongst Manitoba fans, we have no doubt they will respond to our season ticket campaign and make the MTS Centre the permanent home of the franchise come the fall.”
In order for the transfer of the franchise from Atlanta to Winnipeg to be finalized, approval must be given by the NHL board of governor at their June 21 meeting. According to a True North press release, the NHL board of governors will, among other items, consider the level of support generated during the season ticket campaign when making their decision.
It isn’t absolutely essential to sell the specified number of season tickets, but a successful campaign will send a clear message to the NHL board of governors that the community is commited to the NHL relocating to Winnipeg.
Once this final hurdle is completed, the yet-to-be-named team will begin the 2011-12 season at the MTS Centre.
“The best way for our fans here in Winnipeg to celebrate the opportunity is to buy season tickets,” said Bettman. “Selling 13,000 season tickets is the best message to the NHL’s board of governors ..., and to be candid, this isn’t going to work very well unless the building is sold out every night.”
“We have made a commitment to the National Hockey League and to our ownership to sell 13,000 season tickets,” said Jim Ludlow, the president and CEO of True North. “It is with great anticipation that we look forward to the support from the Winnipeg community and the successful conclusion of this process.”
David Thomson, Chipman’s partner in True North, Canada’s richest person and the chairman of Thomson Reuters, said the return of the NHL to the city “represents a superb outcome.”
“The franchise has always resonated with the community and reflects its aspirations both on and off the ice.”
Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, said building the MTS Centre was the first step toward regaining an NHL franchise, while the second step is the actual purchase of the Thrashers by True North.
“Now it’s up to the rest of us,” added Selinger.
“I know our community will support this team — True North and NHL have given us all a chance to prove it.
“Friends, family and neighbours will come together to buy season tickets. That’s what I’ll be doing!
“Together we’ll make sure the NHL is here where it belongs — for good!”
Single game tickets in seven categories range in price from $39 to $129, while season ticket packages in the same seven categories range from $1,755 to $5,805.
The general sale of season ticket packages, asking for a commitment from three to five years, begins on Saturday, June 4, at noon.
Season ticket information is available at www.driveto13.com