"Welcome home", were the words that the Manitoba premiere borrowed from my patch concept. Just kidding but, Winnipeg does have an NHL team again and the city is abuzz!Despite the overwhelming joy coming out of Winnipeg there is a large American market that, for the most part, seems to be indifferent about their pro hockey team leaving. More on that in a moment but, lets look at some numbers first. The metropolitan area of Atlanta is just over 5 million people while the metro Winnipeg area is just under 700,000. Phillips Arena holds just over 17,500 for hockey while MTS Centre holds 15,015. While those numbers don't paint a great picture for Winnipeg's situation they, to me, say more about Atlanta's.I've read that some are disappointed because they feel that Winnipeg is blood thirsty and unforgiving as long as they get a team. How I see it is, Winnipeg's passion to house an NHL team was far greater than Atlanta's will to keep one. Yes, there are just as passionate fans in Atlanta as there are in Winnipeg. The problem is that there were not enough of them, not even close to enough of them, to silence the Winnipeg faithful. That is the difference between a good hockey market and a bad one. It, for the most part, has nothing to do with geographical location.Icethetics posted a link to an article by an Atlanta sports writer who blamed the Thrashers departure on low attendance because of a losing team on the ice. While winning does wonders for a franchise there are markets in the NHL who do realize that attending the games is a way to ensure your franchise stays in your city. Take a look at Toronto, Montreal, New York (Rangers), Philadelphia, Vancouver, and Minnesota. Even Minnesota learned its lesson! They lost their team and now they go to the games, win or lose. Why? Because their team is very important to them and they know how painful it was to lose it once. They won't let it happen again. Unfortunately, Atlanta doesn't have as strong of a committed fan base to collectively make the same statement.
Winnipeg will not be without its challenges though. Try convincing a player to come to Winnipeg during December-April. You can tell them how their breath will turn into moisture that freezes to their face. How so much snow will fall that their cars will be stuck on the driveway. Try to convince a player to stay away from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh...the list goes one, and come play in "Winterpeg".Does "The Peg" have enough corporate presence that are willing to sponsor the team and buy season tickets...expensive season tickets? Are there enough businesses left after that who will pay for the corporate boxes. Last I heard, that kind of money roughly accounts for 60% of a team's revenue. Finally, Mr. Gary Bettman essentially challenged the area by saying they needed to sell 13,00 season tickets to convince the Board of Governors that Winnipeg is a viable NHL ready market. Can they reach that goal in 3-4 weeks?
There are other questions. They're not as gloomy though. Do the owners already have a name picked out and are just waiting to release it? Will there be draft hats and jerseys ready for Minnesota on the 24th? When will the name and logos be revealed?
Of course, I need to provide concepts with my rant! It's a rare occasion but, today I'm ignoring the rotation and posting Thrashers, Moose, and Jets concepts.
Winnipeg Jets concept (by Tex)Here's an 80's version of the Jets jersey with a new shoulder patch. In my opinion, this one doesn't translate well to the Edge cut.
Atlanta Flames concept (by Kyle S.)Here's an interesting thought by Kyle. He thinks Calgary should move their farm team to Atlanta and become the old Atlanta Flames. While it is a neat idea, I don't think it would be efficient for Calgary to have their farm team so far away. It would take a day just to call them up! I do like the idea of an AHL team in Atlanta though. The IHL's Knights did reasonably well.
Manitoba Moose concept (by Avi)If I had to guess, I would say that in October 2011, we'll see the Moose in NHL jerseys. This is a great set by Avi and he brings back the pre-Edge jersey as the 3rd! I think if they do go Moose, they should tweak the jerseys.
Manitoba Moose concept (by Kyle S.)This is a very popular opinion, if they were to become the Moose. Use the Moose logo with the Jets colours. I like it but, I think the current Moose colours look great and are unique.
Atlanta Thrashers concept (by Kyle M.)For the first time I can say here are concepts for the defunct Atlanta Thrashers. I think it's really a shame that the Thrashers never used that A logo more. It was my favourite of all of them.
Winnipeg Jets concepts (by Brandon)This is certainly a nod back to the Thrashers. Using the early 2000's design and keeping the shield logo idea. This is a neat concept and I really like those Jets on the hem stripe (just like the arrows on the Thrashers' hem)
Winnipeg Falcons concepts (by Steven)This is Steven's 1st contribution to HJC. He went with another possible team name choice in the Falcons. Named after the 1st team that went to the Olympics to represent Canada. Steven uses the Fresno Falcons logo here but, he also combined the colours of the Jets and the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Atlanta Firebirds concepts (by John)This is a complete rebrand of the Atlanta franchise. John borrows a logo to create a sort of hybrid team between the Thrashers and the old Flames.
Winnipeg Jets concepts (by Avi)A little change in the colours and a slight modification to the classic jersey design of the Jets. If they are to use that name, I think that is the recipe they will use to create the new brand. The 3rd jersey is based on the Kitchener Rangers 3rd jersey design, which looks good as a Jets jersey also.
Winnipeg Jets concepts (by Tex)I really like how the bottom jersey reminds me of the old WHA days. The blue jersey is a nice modification to the old sweater. Also, I think that the jet in a circle logo is a bit of a no brainer. I wouldn't be surprised to see something like that used.
Final reminder, tomorrow is Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. The HJC Live Blog will start at 7:55pm EST!!! Send in your Canucks and Bruins concepts and they may be posted tomorrow night!