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Thrashers to Winnipeg? Waddell says all options being explored in buyer search

ATLANTA – Thrashers president Don Waddell says the team is exploring “all options” for new owners as there are reports that for the first time those options include a group interested in moving the team to Winnipeg.

Waddell and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly on Monday would not confirm a report by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Thrashers owners are in negotiations with Winnipeg-based True North Sports and Entertainment, which would relocate the team to the city. The paper cited a person close to the process.

A spokesman for True North declined comment.

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Thrashers co-owner Bruce Levenson told The Associated Press last week he was still trying to find a buyer to keep the team in Atlanta, but he added “Nobody has pushed forward with an offer.”

Levenson did not immediately reply to an interview request from The Associated Press on Monday.

True North, which is led by businessman Mark Chipman and billionaire David Thomson, owns Winnipeg’s MTS Centre and the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. Winnipeg has been without an NHL team since the Jets were moved to Phoenix in 1996.