THUNDER BAY – What does the decision by the Winnipeg Jets to move their AHL (American Hockey League) franchise to Winnipeg mean for Thunder Bay and plans for the Event Centre?
Asked: The Winnipeg Jets are moving their AHL Franchise to Winnipeg. What impact can that have on the Thunder Bay Event Centre?
Here is how members of Thunder Bay City Council responded:
Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs says, “This is not a surprise. The Ice Caps working out of St. John’s was not a viable operation for the Winnipeg Jets. If we build the Event Center I firmly believe we will land the AHL franchise. Our talks with Mark Chipman, owner of the Jets have been productive”.
Councillor Rebecca Johnson shares, “The decision of the hockey team re their franchise is their choice. As a business enterprise they have full control of their decisions.
“I would sincerely hope that we are not building an Event Centre to accommodate one hockey team. A team, particularly one not local, can come in and then move at any time. There is no long term commitment as they will go to where they have the best advantage both for players and their business case”.
Councillor Paul Pugh (McKellar) says, “I hope we are not basing our decision on the whims of the AHL or any other outside agency. The proposed EC is hopefully something of benefit for several generations of Thunder Bay residents. The outside franchises are not our concern.”
Thunder Bay Event Centre Announcement
On January 21 2014, there was a media conference on the Event Centre at Thunder Bay City Hall.