Phoenix in doubt, NHL plans for Winnipeg

May 11, 2010, 9:22 PM

As the league struggles with ownership issues in Phoenix, reports have surfaced that a contingency plan is underway to include a team based out of Winnipeg next season.

Schedule makers have built a model which sees Winnipeg in the Northwest Division alongside Vancouver, Calgary, Minnesota and Edmonton. The current fifth team, Colorado, would fill the Phoenix void in the Pacific Division.

The return of NHL hockey to Winnipeg has long been the hope of many Canadians, and with the news that the NHL is actively seeking a buyer the rumour mill has been churning full tilt.

The Jets left Winnipeg for Phoenix following the 1995-96 season and since that date have struggled to turn a profit in Phoenix. The team lost an estimated $20 to $25 million US this season alone.

If the Jets are to return to its roots the team would play out of the 15,000-seat MTS Centre in downtown Winnipeg, which opened in 2004. The arena is the third busiest sports facility in Canada.

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