NEW YORK (AP) — The NHL board of governors unanimously approved the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday, paving the way for the club to move to Winnipeg, Manitoba, for next season.
True North Sports and Entertainment bought the team last month and announced it was bringing the Thrashers to Winnipeg, which lost the Jets to Phoenix after the 1995-96 season. The vote by the board was the final hurdle in the process to relocate the team.
"It's a sad day for hockey fans in Atlanta, but the franchise is going to a good place and run by good people," Thrashers president Don Waddell said. "I wish them well, because a lot of good people that are going to go with them."
The sale is reportedly for $170 million, including a $60 million relocation fee that will be split by the rest of the owners. The Thrashers are the fifth NHL team to move since Gary Bettman became the league's commissioner in 1993.
Following the Flames, who moved to Calgary 31 years ago, the Thrashers are the second NHL team to leave Atlanta. Those clubs are also the last two teams to relocate to Canada. Seven of the league's 30 teams reside north of the border.