President expects quick sale of season tickets in Winnipeg

Associated Press

6/4/2011 9:24:27 AM

WINNIPEG -- The president of the group that owns Winnipeg's new National Hockey League team says the goal of selling 13,000 season tickets could be reached by the end of the day.

True North Sports and Entertainment plans to open up the online sale to the general public on Saturday.

For the last three days, only the 2,000 or so fans who had season tickets to the AHL Manitoba Moose could buy NHL seats.

As of Friday afternoon, they had scooped up more than 7,100.

True North president Jim Ludlow says he doesn't expect it to take long for the rest to go.

The as-yet unnamed NHL team was bought by True North from owners in Atlanta and the company is hoping to sell 13,000 season seats ahead of the NHL's vote on the approval of the sale later this month.

"There's lots of anticipation, seems to be a lot of demand," Ludlow said Friday. "It could go fairly quickly."

While the so-called pre-sale was brisk, Ludlow said the team made sure there were some season seats left for the general public by putting a cap on the number of tickets Moose fans could buy.

There is no lining up for tickets. All purchases must be made online.

If all 13,000 season tickets do go there will be just over 2,000 tickets remaining for each game at the MTS Centre. It is the NHL's smallest arena, holding just over 15,000 people.

But unlike the old Winnipeg Arena, where the Winnipeg Jets used to play before they left in 1996, MTS Centre has corporate suites, ranging in price from $105,000 to $197,000 a season. Those help fatten the club's bottom line.

Ludlow isn't providing any hints about what the new team will be called nor exactly when the name will be announced, but he said it won't be long.

Many fans would like to see the return of the Jets name.

Other names bandied about include the Manitoba Falcons, which would assuage those who live outside Winnipeg and feel the name should reflect the province as a whole, and pay homage to Canada's first Olympic gold-winning hockey team, the 1920 Winnipeg Falcons.