NHL Unanimously Approves Sale, Move of Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg

For the past few weeks, it's been all but certain that Atlanta was going to lose a hockey franchise again, and on Tuesday the NHL board unanimously approved the sale and move of the Thrashers franchise to Winnipeg, NHL.com reports.

"Obviously, everybody is sorry and distressed and unhappy that we found ourselves in the circumstance where our franchise was leaving Atlanta," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. "We feel particularly sorry for the fans over there. But obviously, based on the reception that we've gotten, everybody is extremely excited about the opportunities in Winnipeg for our return."

The Atlanta Spirit sold the Thrashers to the True North Sports and Entertainment group for $170 million, and paid a $60 million to relocate the team to Winnipeg, which hasn't hosted an NHL team since 1996. The team will play at the MTS Centre.

"We know that the fans of this province have an appetite for NHL hockey that is rivaled by few in the League and intend to work very hard to make Manitobans proud of our franchise for years to come," said Mark Chipman, chairman of the group who purchased the Thrashers.

The new franchise has already sold 13,000 season tickets.

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