The Atlanta Thrashers are no closer to finding an owner interested in keeping the team in Georgia, paving the way for Winnipeg to - once again - be considered a frontrunner for the franchise.
Bruce Levenson of the Atlanta Spirit Group, the organization that owns the Atlanta Thrashers, spoke to NBC's WXIA-TV before the Hawks' playoff game against the Bulls on Thursday, asking anyone interested in keeping the team in Atlanta to call him.
"We need to find somebody, or a group of people, who are interested in keeping this team (in Atlanta)," he said. "We'll do everything we can to make the (transition) easy for them and we'll retain a portion of the equity if that's what they want," he said. "We hope we can find people that can come in and either take a controlling interest or if it's of their choosing, own the whole thing."
Asked if the solution was any closer today than it was a month ago, the Levenson said no. "Our job is to continue to find a solution here in Atlanta," he said. "That's what we've been working on for a long time and that's what we continue to work on."
A local group that includes former Braves star Tom Glavine has pushed their efforts to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta. Asked if they are a legitimate contender to get control of his club, Levenson had no comment.
"There is an enormous amount of speculation for years and I've never commented on speculation," he said.
Levenson and Michael Gearon Jr. are the leaders of the group which also owns the NBA Atlanta Hawks and operating rights to Philips Arena, where the teams play.
The latest development comes just days after the City of Glendale voted to give the NHL $25 million to offset losses for next season and keep the Phoenix Coyotes in Arizona for another year. That nullified any possiblity of selling the Coyotes to True North and moving the team back to Winnipeg in time for puck drop in October.