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NHL: Why I Feel Hockey Can Survive Long-Term in Winnipeg

2 Oct 1996:  Right-winger Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks moves around the net during a game against the Winnipeg Jets played at Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California.  The Mighty Ducks won the game, 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Cratty  /Allsp
Glenn Cratty/Getty Images
Dorian McLeanContributor IIIMarch 4, 2011

There is no question that tensions have been rising in both Atlanta and Phoenix as of late, with reports that one or both teams could be relocated as early as the 2011-12 season.

One relocation area that has been mentioned many times now is of course Winnipeg, the former home of the Phoenix Coyotes.

The team parted ways in 1996 and although it may not be widely known, there is a sharp pain riveting throughout the city as they long for the return of their team, or any team for that matter.

There is no question that when the team left in 1996, things were not looking bright for the city of Winnipeg. The city had some problems, notably a lack of financial support.

Declining attendance ultimately led to the teams inevitable departure.

Fast-forward 15 years later, and you are looking at a city that has prospered and grown ever since, with a strong economy to boot.

We currently hold a very powerful businessman in Mark Chipman. With deep pockets, he has been committed and made no secrets that he wants a team back in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg also has a brand new, state of the art hockey arena, one that is vastly improved over the old Winnipeg Arena. However, many claim the arena is simply too small and would not meet the NHL's capacity requirement.

The problem here is, how many arenas are currently selling out right now in the NHL? I am sure you would be shocked to find out the actual number and therefore, even if Winnipeg were to max out their attendance on a consistent basis, they would still get more fans in seats than many other arenas.

Another issue that people may look at is the striving football team, who I feel has seen continued growth over the years.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers football club has continued to see great success along with rising season-ticket holders; and some would question whether the city could support two franchises.

My answer to that question is yes. We're not looking at huge ticket prices here, but ones that I feel would be reasonable enough that many families could afford to go to both entertainment sites without breaking the bank.

Finally, if there is one reason why I feel the NHL could survive long-term in Winnipeg, I would ultimately have to say that it is because of the fans. The die-hard fans have not left and still long for a hockey team of their own.

To say that the old Jets bleed through many of the people who live here would be an understatement. Give Winnipeg a hockey team, and watch what they do with it.

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