The NHL's Board of Governors, meeting Tuesday in New York, approved the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers to True North Sports & Entertainment Ltd., headed by Mark Chipman and David Thomson. The board also approved the immediate move of the franchise to Winnipeg, Canada, for next season.
Because of the relatively short notice of the move before the 2011-12 season, the still-unnamed team will stay in the Southeast Division next season with Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay and Washington. The schedule for next season will be released in the next few days. Realignment is expected for the 2012-13 season.
“We deeply regret that Atlanta’s ownership was unable to secure local partners after exhausting every option and alternative,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement released by the NHL.
"At the same time, we are delighted that NHL hockey is returning to Winnipeg and to a fan base that already is showing so much support for its team. We congratulate Mark Chipman, David Thomson and True North on their patience, their preparation and their professionalism, and we look forward to the start of a new era for the franchise.”
The board also approved changes to Rule 41, which applies to boarding, and Rule 48, which relates to illegal checks to the head.