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Thrashers reborn Jets, get new coach, draft players as Dudley signs with Leafs

Fans of Winnipeg's hockey team rejoice at the 2011-12 draft. The team formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers was renamed the Jets on Friday.
Fans of Winnipeg's hockey team rejoice at the 2011-12 draft. The team formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers was renamed the Jets on Friday.
(Getty Images/Bruce Bennett)

The team formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers has a new name. Well, a new old name.

They’re now known as the Winnipeg Jets.

At least True North Sports and Entertainment realizes that a rose by any other name is not the same. They simply had no choice to name the team anything other than the Jets.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman cleared the way for Jets 2.0 when he announced the league would give the trademarks to the name Jets to TNSE for free when the move was announced.

Three days after the team’s move to Winnipeg was made official by the Board of Governors, TNSE chairman Mark Chipman made the announcement at the NHL draft in St. Paul, Minn.

"We considered a lot of names, we really did," Chipman told the Winnipeg Free Press and others at the draft on Friday. "We felt strongly about 'Manitoba' in a number of different scenarios and carried that name for the past 15 years and were very proud of the name we had and the success we had.

“But, again, Winnipeg Jets has got so much equity in it, well-deserved equity, it just seemed right to take it forward and not mess around with taking forward in its original form."

Winnipeg’s new hockey team still does not have a logo. While Chipman hinted that they have a prototype jersey at this point in time, they are working with the league to get the appropriate trademarks on that logo before releasing the jersey to the public.

At least TNSE got the biggest of details – the name – right. Whether or not some of the other moves that the newest member of the NHL family made will pay off is something that is open for debate this season.

The Jets officially passed over Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay on Friday, opting to go with the company guy instead. Former Manitoba Moose coach Claude Noel was nabbed to take over the reins as head coach of Winnipeg’s new NHL entry.

The Moose are the wholly owned and operated AHL team of TNSE and predecessor of the Jets at the MTS Centre. They will play in St. John’s next season.

Ramsay becomes the latest casualty to not make the transition from Atlanta to Winnipeg. Aside from the players, a few bags of equipment and a thing or two from Philips Arena and the training center in Duluth, few things Thrashers and even fewer things Atlanta Spirit are headed to Canada.

However, it is rumored that Ramsay may be in the running for the New Jersey Devils head coaching job.

Another jilted potential Jets employee landed predictably on his feet on Friday when former Thrashers GM Rick Dudley accepted a talent evaluator role with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Dudley, who loves projects, will have his work cut out for him with a Toronto team that really is the equivalent of the Chicago Cubs of the NHL.

The Leafs, who have not won the Stanley Cup since 1967, are badly in need of a makeover. They reached out to Dudley, who has radically helped to transform the Chicago Blackhawks, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers into Cup contenders as either a general manager or assistant in past seasons.

Winnipeg’s new hockey team also made their first draft selection on Friday, nabbing former Barrie Colts center Mark Scheifele with the seventh overall pick in NHL’s annual swap meet.

The selection of Scheifele came as a bit of a surprise to many he was ranked No.16 amongst North American skaters by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau and No. 17 by the International Scouting Service. In selecting Scheifele, the Jets passed over highly-touted center Sean Couturier who fell to the Philadelphia Flyers with the next pick.

The NHL draft concludes on Saturday. The former Thrashers team has eight selections left in the third, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.

For updates whenever a new article is posted, please follow me either on Twitter @PJFoleyExaminer or Google Buzz.


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