Thanks to tweets from Darren Dreger, it looks like it's official now. At 9:30 Mountain Time, TSN will begin a broadcast of the official announcement of the selling of the Atlanta Thrashers. (You can watch it here, looks like.) It looks like the hockey experiment in sweet ol' Georgia is over and we're finally going to get another Canadian team in the league. Considering there were technically seven teams counting the Coyotes (Nashville, Carolina, Atlanta, Tampa, Florida, Phoenix, Dallas) in the southern United States until the sale of the Thrashers compared to only six teams in Canada, I'd say that balancing the ratio in favor of the Canadians was long overdue.
So congratulations to Winnipeg Jets fans - even though the new team will most likely not be called the Jets, they'll always be the Jets in our hearts! - and enjoy more hockey being back in hockey's heartland. The question is, what's next for the NHL in terms of relocation? Really only one city that has really superbly supported a hockey team in years past - sorry Hartford - remains left for discussion, and that's Quebec City. We Avalanche fans know a good amount about the Nordiques obviously, since they were the team that moved out to the Americas to become the Avs in the first place.
Will the Avalanche move back to Quebec? Doubtful. Despite the attendance issues that the Avs have faced in previous years they've at least proven that the city does have the potential to have record breaking sell-out streaks and packed houses in the playoffs and for important games, something that the Thrashers never were able to show, whether or not you think they had a chance to do so. So the Avalanche are safe for a really long time if not completely immune to re-location in my eyes. Will Phoenix move? Not if Gary Bettman has anything to say about it. Despite the Phoenix experiment failing year after year, he keeps insisting that it's only a matter of time before the Yotes start making money.
Unfortunately, it looks like the Quebec Nordiques fans out there are either going to have to wait until Gary Bettman dies or another team from the south falls into the same boat that the Thrashers were in to get a team back. With hockey in the south everywhere except Phoenix starting to actually look decent and Gary Bettman having a love affair with the Coyotes it's not looking likely though.
Then again, after the Flames and the new Jets came from there, maybe the easiest way to get Quebec a new team is to give another one to Atlanta. It'll be in Canada within the decade!