Announcement for Ice relocation put on hold
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.