NHL announcement likely this week: Winnipeg mayor

PAUL TURENNE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:05 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz isn’t taking Gary Bettman’s advice.

The NHL commissioner told a Florida radio station Wednesday that everyone should “take a deep breath and pause”, because a deal to move the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg might not happen.

“I’m not concerned at all,” Katz said when asked about Bettman’s comments. “I don’t think there’s anybody that I’ve heard say it’s not happening.”

Katz said an announcement regarding the NHL’s return to the city will likely come before the end of this week, reiterating what he had already told the Winnipeg Sun earlier in the week.

Katz said he believes last week’s Globe and Mail story that reported a deal was done to move the Thrashers to Winnipeg was “based on factual discussions with others who are definitely in the know,” but that the story’s claim a news conference would be held to announce the deal Tuesday was never going to pan out.

“I never expected to hear anything on Tuesday ... I do believe that something before the end of the week is likely,” he said. “Even the mayor of Atlanta is basically telling his citizens the team is leaving. Hopefully it will take its due course, we’ll have an official announcement, and we can all go dance in the streets and celebrate. I’ll be leading the conga line.”

Katz said potential NHL owners have not asked the city for any loan guarantees, tax breaks, or the like, nor has he offered them any.


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