Bombers welcome return of NHL

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:51 PM ET

Count the Winnipeg Blue Bombers among those who believe the return of the National Hockey League is just around the corner.

And for the record, they’re welcoming it with open arms.

While holding their annual CFL teleconference on Tuesday, Blue Bombers president Jim Bell noted he is confident there will be enough entertainment money to go around.

“That is certainly the news of the day and the week, with respect to the return of the NHL,” said Bell. “I suppose it’s imminent and that announcement will be made very, very shortly. The way we look at it is that we as a club have a solid business plan going forward, with respect to our new stadium, with respect to have we have gone about our business in the community, within the city of Winnipeg and province of Manitoba.

“Will their be an impact with the NHL returning to Winnipeg? There may be, but our feeling within the management of the Winnipeg Football Club is there is room for three (professional franchises), between what they call the Moose right now, the Goldeyes in baseball and the Blue Bombers.”

Bell also said the Winnipeg Football Club has partnered with True North Sports & Entertainment in the past for outdoor concerts and expect to do so in the future.

“It’s a very solid partnership and one we look forward to carrying on in the years to come,” said Bell.

With talk that hockey fans might be required to give three-year commitments for season tickets, Bell also downplayed what long-term impact that might have on the Blue Bombers ticket drive.

“We feel comfortable going forward, we have a very loyal and committed fan base,” said Bell. “Our fans have responded in droves, as suggested by our season ticket numbers (closing in on 18,000). Moving forward, we feel that with the partnership we have with our community as a whole, we don’t feel threatened. It’ll be very workable for us as a club and we look forward to that.”

On Tuesday, there was still no word on when the official announcement of the relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg might come, though many believe it will be before the weekend.


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