True North brings Manitoba Moose back to Winnipeg
The Manitoba Moose are back.
The Winnipeg Jets ownership group, True North Sports and Entertainment, announced Monday that the return of its American Hockey League affiliate to the city will also mark the return of the Moose name.
The team spent the past four years in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, as the IceCaps.
It was announced in March this year that the team would relocate to the Manitoba capital for the 2015-16 season. What wasn't known yet, was the team's name.
Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said having the farm team so close will help players make the shift to the NHL a little smoother.
True North executive chairman Mark Chipman said it will be rewarding to be "developing our own players in front of our own fans."
Before moving to St. John's in 2011, the team was known as the Manitoba Moose. During their 15-year tenure in Winnipeg (1996-2011), the Moose captured two division championships and a conference championship.
Here are your brand new <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MBMoose?src=hash">#MBMoose</a> Jerseys – white at home and blue on the road. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ItAllStartsHere?src=hash">#ItAllStartsHere</a> <a href="http://t.co/uQ9vSB8xjy">pic.twitter.com/uQ9vSB8xjy</a>—@ManitobaMoose
"It was remarkable, frankly, and I've said this before — we wouldn't be in the NHL today but for those 15 years," Chipman said. "And I wouldn't give back any one of those years. It's in our DNA."
True North bought the Moose franchise and moved it to Winnipeg from Minnesota after the original NHL Jets left the city in 1996.
The Moose then shifted to St. John's when True North purchased and relocated the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg in 2011. The Thrashers were renamed the Jets, while the Moose were renamed the IceCaps and became Jets' farm team.
In March, it was announced the Montreal Canadiens' AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, would be moving to St. John's, which opened the door for True North to bring the IceCaps closer to home.
Initially, the plan was for the team to move to Winnipeg while an arena was built in Thunder Bay. But plans for the arena and events centre in Thunder Bay collapsed when federal funding fell through.
On Monday, Chipman said the AHL team is expected to be here to stay for the foreseeable future, not for a brief, interim basis.
"It's absolutely our hope that this is long-term. I mean you can't say anything with absolute certainty other than we're going to give this our very best effort," he said.
"It's certainly Kevin [Cheveldayoff] and mine and our entire organizations' hope that this team will be here for a long, long time."
Cheveldayoff said both the Jets and Moose will play their games at the MTS Centre in downtown Winnipeg.
The Moose brought back the same snarling Moose logo they used the last time they were in the city but have changed their colours, dropping the green, black, bronze, and white and adopting the Jets' blue and white.
However, unlike the Jets, the Moose will wear white jerseys at home and dark (navy) jerseys on the road — as per AHL rules.
Going to a Moose game will be much more affordable than the Jets and fans can watch the NHL club's future stars before they get called up to the big show.
The average individual game ticket to see the Moose will be $19.63, which is actually cheaper than the $22 average back in 2011.
Prices vary depending on whether the seats are in the P1, P2 or P3 sections, ranging from $15 to $25. Game tickets for the Jets, in comparison, range from $100 to $140 for those same seats.
Season tickets will run from $570 to $950 for the Moose. The same season ticket seats command $4,600 to $6,400 for the Jets.
The Moose/IceCaps franchise has strong history of developing players for the NHL, some of whom include Michael Hutchinson, Adam Lowry, Alexandre Burrows, Alexander Edler, Cory Schneider, Eddie Lack, Ryan Kesler, and Kevin Bieksa.