It was officially announced today that the Atlanta Thrashers were moving to Winnipeg to give them back another NHL team for a second shot. This also made the count of Canadian teams go up to seven. It's a great day for Winnipeggers but an extremely sad one for the Thrashers fans who made an effort to try and save their beloved team down south. It's really a shame that the NHL wasn't able to do more for them. Personally, I have family members who live down in Georgia and while they were Sabres fans, they were also Thrashers fans. My uncle and I especially spoke about what was going on with the Thrashers and having an NHL team in town meant he could see the Sabres twice a year. Now that is no longer the case.
It's amazing how these events unfolded so quickly. Only about two weeks ago was it mentioned that Atlanta could possibly move up to Winnipeg. Phoenix had been in a ton of danger for maybe three years prior to that and when they were told they would stay in Phoenix for another year, the NHL looked elsewhere. I had a feeling in my gut that the Thrashers or Panthers should be moved over the Coyotes to Winnipeg, mainly because I thought moving them back to where they have previously been was just stupid. I'm sure it would have been an entirely awesome experience for Shane Doan though. Regardless, this deal going down in only about two weeks was really crazy and you have to wonder how Gary Bettman feels about all of this. I'm sure Winnipeggers don't care in the slightest, they're just glad that they have a team back.
The thing that confuses me the most is this unnamed Winnipeg team playing in the Southeast division for next season only so that they can get used to the change. Considering that they are more North than the Wild and they're playing for the East is strange to me. I'm sort of looking forward to seeing them twice next year but I just wonder how much those ticket prices are going to be. Also, which team from the West will make a move to the East? Columbus, Nashville, and Detroit are up for talks. I would personally love to see Nashville in the East to create a bit more competition. I don't like Detroit but Columbus' time zone is Eastern. It would be easier to add that onto the Eastern Conference. I guess that will be all decided within the next coming season.
Congratulations again on this, Winnipeg fans. Also, congratulations to Canada on their seventh team. You finally got it.