RESULTS OF MANITOBA ELECTIONS ARE IN -- ARE JETS STAYING?
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).