Manitoba won't help pay for NHL team
Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger confirmed Wednesday that the province is willing to help make MTS Centre more viable for potential NHL owners, but is not willing to help pay for a team or cover any losses.
“We’re not in any way interested in subsidizing the team. The team is a completely private operation,” he said. “The government is not going to be involved directly in any way on that, but we’ve always played a very important role in getting the new multi-use facility, and that has made a huge difference.
“We were with them from Day 1, against enormous resistance. From the very early days we helped (True North) with their new downtown facility, which we think is serving the public very well.”
Selinger did not specify what the province might be able to do in terms of helping with the team’s facility.
He said he’s going to let Winnipeg’s potential NHL owners negotiate with the league about a possible purchase of the Atlanta Thrashers without getting too involved.
“There is some discussion going on between True North and the Chipmans and the NHL, and we want them to focus on that while we focus on the flood and protecting people in Manitoba,” Selinger said. “Any future decisions will be made in a way that serves the public interests of Manitoba.”
Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen wouldn’t speculate on what provincial aid may or may not be in the works, but did say he doesn’t want it to involve a government handout.
“I hope they can do it without putting taxpayers’ money into it. That would be the best outcome,” he said.
A spokesman for Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz said the city has not been approached by potential NHL owners asking for any kind of assistance.