Survey questions Thunder Bay residents on hosting AHL club
The owners of the NHL's Winnipeg Jets want to move their farm team to Thunder Bay, but are asking city residents for feedback first.
The Jets announced in January that their farm team would be leaving its current home in St. John's, NL, within a few years.
True North Sports and Entertainment has posted an online survey to gauge interest in hosting an American Hockey League club in the proposed Thunder Bay event centre.
"We're very hopeful of the results of this survey, so that we can take another step forward in bringing the American Hockey League to Thunder Bay, because that is something that we want to do,” said True North spokesperson Scott Brown.
Brown said the plan to relocate the St. John's Icecaps to Thunder Bay still depends on the city building the event centre — a project city manager Tim Commisso said has not been guaranteed to go ahead.
City interested in survey results
Commisso added the owners of the Winnipeg Jets are just practising due diligence with a survey of local residents, and that the survey doesn't mean True North is worried about Thunder Bay as a good market for an AHL team.
“I think they're just trying to figure it out in terms of getting some numbers, some hard numbers. It's market research that a company like them … would do in any location,” he said.
"They're convinced that Thunder Bay is a good market. I think … this [survey] gives them … some more data to view.”
Commisso said the city was recently advised by True North of the survey, and the city “would be interested in the results."
Brown acknowledged it's possible for participants to complete the survey more than once, but said he hopes people don't do that.
"We want this to be accurate for the people of Thunder Bay so that they understand when they're making such a significant commitment, as a city, that it's an accurate one and an honest one."
True North says it will not base its final decision about Thunder Bay just on the survey results.
The survey has been online since Sunday and will be up until the end of April.