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Thrashers-to-Canada deal still not done

Photo by John Woods

Photo by John Woods

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Thrashers' owners and Winnipeg's True North Sports and Entertainment on Thursday were still working through complex legal details on the sale and relocation of the team.

One of the Thrashers' lead owners, Michael Gearon Jr., told The Associated Press Thursday "nothing has been done yet."

True North would relocate the team to Winnipeg if a deal is completed. It reportedly has agreed to pay $110 million for the team and another $60 million to the NHL as a relocation fee.

Gearon said Thursday no new possible buyer has emerged with a bid for the Thrashers.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said time is a factor if the team is to make the move for the 2011-12 season.

Even if an agreement has been finalized, it likely would not be announced on Friday, when Boston and Tampa Bay play Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed talked on Tuesday as if losing the team is inevitable.

"It is going to hurt the city but we will withstand it just fine and we will get through it," Reed said.

Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz told the National Post in Canada on Tuesday he expected the sale to be final this week.

The prolonged negotiations have not changed the expectation that the sale and relocation of the team to Winnipeg is inevitable.

Gearon and Bruce Levenson are the lead owners in a group which also owns the NBA's Atlanta Hawks and operating rights to Philips Arena, which is home to both teams.

The ownership group claims the hockey club has lost more than $150 million since 2005.

The Thrashers' average attendance this season was 13,469 -- 28th out of 30 teams.