Wenatchee Wild to Join WHL, Winnipeg Ice Relocate to WA State
Stunning but good news for the WHL Friday. The Winnipeg Ice are moving to Wenatchee and will join the Western Hockey League for the 2023-24 season. This image is from their days in Kootenai, before moving to Winnipeg four years ago.
Winnipeg Ice leaving town after four years
According to The Hockey News:
"The Winnipeg Ice have been sold to David White of the Shoot the Puck Foundation and will move to Wenatchee, Wash., roughly 2.5 to 3 hours east of Seattle. TSN's Darren Dreger first reported the news before the WHL's announcement on Friday."
They will join the WHL US Division and will begin play this fall, for the 2023-24 season. The Ice are coming off a season where they lost the WHL finals to Seattle, and are expected to be a challenger again this year.
The Hockey News reports the move stems from multiple failed efforts to build a new arena in Winnipeg, the Ice played in the 1,600-seat arena at the University of Manitoba, and had the lowest attendance figures in the league, according to sources.
While the reaction in Winnipeg was dour, Wenatchee officials are very excited to be joining the new league. The Wenatchee Wild has been a part of the NAHL, North American Hockey League, for many years. It is a 32-team US-based developmental team. The Tri-City Americans have had a handful of Wild players make their roster over the last few years.
The Wild will cease NAHL operations, and leave the league, the 'entire' Ice organization will relocate to Wenatchee.
No word yet if the team will keep the "Ice" name or adopt "Wild" as their mascot.
Prior to Winnipeg, the Ice were in Kootenai for a number of years, and Edmonton before that.
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