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RESULTS OF MANITOBA ELECTIONS ARE IN -- ARE JETS STAYING?
Published April 27, 1995
As the May 1 deadline by Jets Owner Barry Shankerow to sell to a local owner approaches, officials in Winnipeg are scrambling to work a deal to keep the team in Manitoba. Meanwhile, rumors are swirling from Minneapolis to Atlanta. ELECTION OPTIMISM: On Tuesday, the Progressive Conservative party retained a majority in the Manitoba provincial elections, increasing the likelihood "that the NHL Jets would remain in Winnipeg and not bolt for Minnesota or other parts south," according to Jay Weiner in the Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE. However, Weiner reports that "big problems" still must be resolved before the deadline, namely determining whether the government is willing to pay for a new arena, and if Manitoba Entertainment Complex (MEC), the group seeking to buy the team, has enough money to close a deal. Jets officials told city leaders Tuesday that the NHL was "concerned" MEC might not be able to gain NHL approval because of lack of funds (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/26). FROM ABOVE: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told David Shoalts in Toronto that the NHL "wants assurances" from local governments that the Jets will "remain healthy and in Winnipeg for a minimum of 10 years or it would have to look at moving the team." Bettman was not specific, but "left the impression" that certain levels of luxury box seating and season tickets are key (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 4/27). MEC BUYOUT: In Winnipeg, the FREE PRESS' John Douglas reports that MEC is willing to let the city and province "buy their way out" of their obligation to cover team losses in exchange for the governments' 36% share in the club -- estimated to be worth C$18M (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 4/27).