The Manitoba Moose are back. Ever since it was announced that the Winnipeg Jets would move their American Hockey League team to their home stadium of the MTS Centre. They will be the second NHL team with an AHL team in their same arena along with the San Jose Sharks and their new team, the Barracuda.
The Moose moved away from Winnipeg four years ago after the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg and the NHL team had to boot the minor league team. The Moose moved to St. John’s where they were named the IceCaps. The Montreal Canadiens will take over as the parent club of the IceCaps until they can bring their minor league club to Quebec. The IceCaps will retain their name.
The Moose were located in Winnipeg from 1996 until 2011 and played at the MTS Centre from 2004 until they moved out.
“The opportunity to bring the American League team home, back to Winnipeg, is certainly something that I’m very proud to be a part of,” said Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff in an article on the Hockey News. “I want to thank our ownership group, True North Sports and Entertainment, for the vision to be able to allow us to get to this point.”
“I couldn’t help but reflect driving down to work today – it’s been 19 years since we first introduced the Moose brand in Winnipeg back at the Winnipeg Arena,” said True North Sports and Entertainment’s executive chairman Mark Chipman in the same article. “It’s really gratifying and very exciting to reintroduce a brand that we were very, very proud of for 15 years. … The support we had from this community was remarkable. Frankly, we wouldn’t be in the NHL today but for those 15 years, and I wouldn’t give back any one of those years.”
The Moose will bring back head coach Keith McCambridge and Brad Andrews returns as the director of hockey operations.
Before the Moose returned to Manitoba there had been rumors that the team would move instead to Thunder Bay, Ontario, but there had also been speculation that the Jets wanted to have their team closer to Winnipeg. It only made sense to fill out more arena dates at MTS Centre.
The IceCaps have been at the top of the league in AHL attendance, which will be great for the Canadiens. The Jets are one of the most supported NHL teams in the league attendance wise, so it could be expected that the Moose will draw as well.
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