Dustin Byfuglien of the Atlanta Thrashers will be saluting fans in Atlanta for the last time, according to a Globe and Mail Confirmation that the deal is done with True North. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The Globe and Mail is reporting that a formal announcement will be made on Tuesday May 24, 2011. It will be a joyous day for Winnipeg hockey fans as NHL hockey will be returning to their city. Conversely, it will be a devastating blow to Atlanta hockey fans who are experiencing the loss of a NHL team for a second time.
But hockey fans continue to await Gary Bettman to descend from the mountain like Moses, to deliver the final word.
He really is starting at this point to allow this story to eclipse the Stanley Cup playoffs and surely must realize that the sooner this is settled the better it is for hockey fans everywhere.
The rebirth of NHL hockey in Winnipeg should finally quieten the constant and tiresome debate of hockey returning to Canada for the last several years. Currently, no other Canadian city is a strong and complete candidate for an NHL team, Quebec City, is no where near being ready to accept a team without an NHL ready Arena.
Given the strict standards and drawn out process that the NHL is enforcing for team relocation, fans of the remaining hockey teams should be confident of their teams stability in their cities, at least until Quebec City has a NHL approved rink in place which most anticipate can be no sooner then 2015 at the earliest.
Gary Bettman will be doing the NHL a favor if he announces this sooner rather than later because the story truly is taking attention away from the Stanley Cup playoffs, which it should not be.
I will update this article more in the coming days with a few more thoughts...