Fans need to be patient in Winnipeg

There was a sense of euphoria in Winnipeg on Tuesday as the city welcomed the return of the National Hockey League after a 15-year absence, but the new owners didn’t waste any time outlining the economic reality facing the team with no name. A good part of the press conference to announce the purchase and relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers was given over to a sales pitch to prospective seasonticket holders. The team announced it will start selling tickets Wednesday with a goal of 13,000 in the MTS Centre, which has a capacity of 15,015.NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said while the league didn’t require that show of support, strong ticket sales would send the right message to the NHL board of governors which is expected to approve the sale on June 21. But Bettman went on to say that NHL hockey won’t work unless the building – which will be the smallest in the NHL – is sold out for every game.Much was made of the fact the economics have changed since rising salaries, a depressed Canadian dollar and a tired old arena forced the Winnipeg Jets to abandon the city in 1995. Today, there is a salary cap, there is revenue sharing and the Canadian economy is looking pretty good compared with its neighbour to the south.