IS WINNIPEG GIVING UP ON NHL AND THE JETS?
Accountant Steve Bannatyne, who will assume control of the
Winnipeg Enterprises Corporation in late November, said yesterday
that he is interested in attracting an IHL franchise to a
downsized Winnipeg Arena. Bannatyne said he is skeptical that
the NHL's Jets will be able to remain in Winnipeg, even following
the completion of the Manitoba Entertainment Complex: "Keeping
the Jets in Winnipeg will be very difficult even with a new
building. Everyone is aware that the NHL has to get its labor
costs under control, but I still don't see the league making an
offer to its players that cuts the total payroll to $15 million
Canadian. Without that, it's going to be tough to keep the Jets
here. I'm an accountant and I look at the economics and I don't
see how we can afford the NHL in Winnipeg." With that in mind,
Bannatyne plans to become active in pursuit of an IHL team: "I
think an IHL franchise would be ideal for a city this size"
(WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 10/28).