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Bill Daly 'can't guarantee' Thrashers will stay in Atlanta

National Hockey Leagu Executive Vice-President and chief legal officer Bill Daly.

MIKE CASSESE/Reuters

Bill Daly, deputy commissioner of the NHL, had few words of reassurance on Thursday when he sat down for an interview with Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jeff Schultz.

In fact, his words were more reassuring to hockey fans in Winnipeg, who are awaiting word of True North Sports and Entertainment's chances of buying the Atlanta Thrashers and moving them north now that the Phoenix Coyotes are off the market. Well, the Coyotes are off the market until Dec. 31, which is when the NHL can sell them to an outside buyer if the city of Glendale once again fails to find a buyer.

When Shultz asked Daly if he could guarantee the Thrashers would still be in Atlanta next season, Daly said, "Nope. I can't guarantee that."

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Mind you, Daly did dismiss the many reports the Thrasher owners are already negotiating with True North and a move will be announced shortly.

"There is nothing that has been done, nothing has been planned and nothing has been scheduled," Daly said. "Certainly, no transaction has been agreed to, not that I'm aware of."

But Daly did decline to comment when he was asked if the Thrashers are talking to True North. He said Thrashers co-owner Bruce Levenson was the best one to answer that question. Levenson told the Journal-Constitution he would "not comment on any speculation."

The entire question-and-answer session with Daly is here.

In the meantime, baseball great and hockey fan Tom Glavine, who has strong ties to Atlanta, went on the NHL Home Ice show on SiriusXM satellite radio Thursday to discuss his efforts to put together a group to buy the Thrashers and keep them in Atlanta.

As it turns out, his efforts are not going well. The former Atlanta Braves pitcher said he tried talking to people he knew who had both the necessary funds and interest in hockey but did not get anywhere.

At this point, Glavine said, the chances of the Thrashers staying in Atlanta are "uncertain at best."

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He argued there is a "good market here for hockey," but conceded "you have to get somebody willing to write a cheque and keep the team here. So far, that's been tough to get done."

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About the Author
Hockey columnist

A native of Wainfleet, Ont., David Shoalts joined The Globe in 1984 after working at the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun and Toronto Sun. He graduated in 1978 from Conestoga College and also attended the University of Waterloo. More

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