The NHL is headed back to Winnipeg.
True North Sports and Entertainment, the Winnipeg-based group that has been attempting to purchase the Atlanta Thrashers, has called a noon news conference to announce they are close to completing the deal and will relocate the team to Manitoba. The news conference will be shown on NHL Network and streamed live at NHL.com.
The Winnipeg Free Press reports that a deal had not been finalized but that there was enough confidence among the parties involved, True North, the NHL and Atlanta Spirit Group, to call a press conference. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and True North partner David Thomson are en route to Winnipeg for the announcement.
According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the team in Winnipeg will play in the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference for one year before the league realigns.
The agreement will need to be approved by the NHL board of governors, which next meets June 21 in New York.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports the Thrashers owners, Atlanta Spirit, have been negotiating the sale of the Thrashers to True North since mid-May. The Thrashers' owners have said in court documents that the team has lost $130 million since 2005.
The Winnipeg club will play in the MTS Centre, which the Sabres would visit twice next season if the relocated team does stay in the Southeast Division.