An­nounce­ment for Ice re­lo­ca­tion put on hold

Winnipeg Free Press - - SPORTS - MIKE SAWATZKY AND JEFF HAMIL­TON [email protected]­ress.mb.ca Twit­ter: @sawa14

THE ma­jor­ity owner of the Koote­nay Ice has ended his pub­lic si­lence on re­ports he is plan­ning to move his Western Hockey League fran­chise to Win­nipeg from Cran­brook, B.C.

Greg Fettes, one of the founders of Win­nipeg’s 24/7 InTouch, re­sponded Fri­day to a Free Press story sug­gest­ing that he and his busi­ness part­ner Matt Cock­ell would be an­nounc­ing Mon­day the club would be re­lo­cated to Win­nipeg for the start of the 2019-20 sea­son.

“I’m say­ing there’s no an­nounce­ment on Mon­day or any­thing pend­ing,” Fettes said in a brief tele­phone in­ter­view.

Fettes was not will­ing to dis­cuss his plans for the team, which has been the sub­ject of re­lo­ca­tion talk ever since he pur­chased it from the Chynoweth fam­ily in the spring of 2017.

Fettes is a mem­ber of the WHL’s board of gover­nors, and Cock­ell serves as the club’s pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager.

For a team to be re­lo­cated, the WHL re­quires a two-thirds ap­proval in vote of the board of gover­nors, or 15 of 22 teams.

The Free Press first re­ported in Oc­to­ber about the pos­si­ble move to Win­nipeg in time for the 2019-20 sea­son.

When asked at the time about whether the WHL board of gover­nors was con­sid­er­ing a pro­posal to move Koote­nay to Win­nipeg, com­mis­sioner Ron Ro­bi­son, through the league’s se­nior man­ager of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, re­sponded with a cu­ri­ous non-de­nial de­nial.

“The WHL is very pleased with the com­mit­ment Greg Fettes and his own­er­ship group has made to Cran­brook and the Koote­nay region since ac­quir­ing the Ice fran­chise in 2017,” Ro­bi­son wrote.

“The WHL is look­ing for­ward to the Koote­nay Ice con­tin­u­ing to op­er­ate this sea­son in Cran­brook.”

Ac­cord­ing to sources, a plan to an­nounce the move was set for late Novem­ber.

How­ever, fol­low­ing meet­ings with team own­er­ship, the de­ci­sion to go pub­lic was de­layed, with a new an­nounce­ment sched­uled for Dec. 10.

Now, an an­nounce­ment has been de­layed again.

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