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The process to look for new investors seems a little odd:

There have been all sorts of “confirmed” rumors and talk of “done deals” about a team moving to Winnipeg, so we make the statements below with that caveat. If the team is sold, the points below are puzzling.

The way this has unfolded over the last few months, it all seems a little odd...

The best example is that Gary Bettman has not set foot in Atlanta in the last 90 days, even after the Atlanta owners stated there was “a sense of urgency” to find new owners. Compare Mr. Bettman’s actions to his past actions helping find solutions in Tampa, Nashville, Pittsburg, Phoenix, etc.

The NHL decided to collect their $60M relocation fee and leave the fans in Atlanta behind. See this video for the facts behind the situation in Atlanta, including the NHL’s lack of action to help save hockey in the Capital of the South. Atlanta got five months to find a new owner – if you do not understand why, please see the video:

We have heard very little from the NHL. We have heard about interested buyers, but the ASG never seems to be working with anyone. Atlanta leaders have done next to nothing. No public statements have been made (until the 11th hour) from the Mayor or local leaders. The ASG, who is actively looking to sell the team, signed the GM up for four more years? That makes no sense - the new owner would want to pick their GM. The ASG signed Dustin Byfuglien to a long-term contract (five years) - why would you do that if you planned to sell the team? A new owner wants to pick their players and contract terms. What happens if your "buyer" or "investor" does not like Big Buff or the GM? It makes little sense. If you compare the story below, from early February 2011, to the "new" speculative rumors coming out, they appear oddly similar.

"Old" Story from February

Based on our research, this story/type of deal (which was classified as a rumor) may be close to what could happen. Tony Gallagher reported in The Province:

"There are more than a few rumors buzzing about the league suggesting the NHL is about to make a pitch to take over the Atlanta Thrashers with the end game being to move them to Winnipeg. Repeat, these are just rumors at this stage. According to sources which purport to be close to the story, the league would raise roughly $160 million U.S. for the project and put $35 million of that money into a kitty to run the team on a temporary basis. They would then offer the remaining $125 million to the legal battling owners of the Thrashers in hopes that that would be tempted to take the money, in part to end their losses and perhaps make the resolution of whatever disputes remain between them easier. ... the league would then arrange ownership in Winnipeg—likely with the ultra wealthy Thomson family—and then move the club as quickly and as expediently as possible" (Full Story).

"New" Story from May 2011 via Hockey Buzz

It all appears to be in place. From what I am told True North in Winnipeg will meet via conference call with the Atlanta ownership group tomorrow. The call will be conducted by Gary Bettman who reportedly is prepared to allow True North to move the franchise to Winnipeg. True North is prepared to commit $170 Million to the deal, 110 of which would go to the Atlanta group with the remain $60M going to the NHL as a transfer fee...and that may be the only rub here. Another source told me that Bettman has "promised the Owners the Coyotes will not be a financial burden for the current owners, and the assumption here is the transfer fee from the Atlanta deal will cover the Coyotes money from this past seasons and the coming season." (Full Story)
The media now agrees with with our hypothesis related to Anson Carter's group. According to 11 Alive:

Last year, the Atlanta Spirit Group was approached by a group of investors led by former NHL player Anson Carter (@AnsonCarterLA), the source told 11Alive's Matt Pearl (@MattPearlWXIA11) on the condition of anonymity. The group led by Carter made a preliminary, non-binding offered to buy the Atlanta Thrashers, The Atlanta Hawks and the rights to Philips Arena from Atlanta Spirit. The group intended to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta and had serious financial backing, Pearl's source said. That offer was never put through due diligence by the Atlanta Spirit Group, the source told Pearl.

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