Team to be Winnipeg Jets

Updated: June 25, 2011, 12:09 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The new NHL team in Winnipeg will go with what the city's original team was named -- the Winnipeg Jets.

[+] EnlargeWinnipeg Jets Fans
Hannah Foslien/Getty ImagesWinnipeg fans celebrated the official return of the Jets on Friday.

The Atlanta Thrashers are no more, having moved north across the border earlier this month. The name change was announced Friday night by team chairman Mark Chipman at the NHL draft in Minnesota, just before the Jets took center Mark Scheifele with the seventh pick in the first round.

"We are thrilled to be using a name that has so much history in our city and means so much to our fans," Chipman said in a statement released by the team. "Our fans clearly indicated to us the passion they hold for the name since we acquired the franchise."

The original Jets joined the NHL in 1979 after the World Hockey Association folded. They played in Manitoba until 1996, when the franchise moved to Phoenix and became the Coyotes.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman gave a "special welcome back" to the Winnipeg fans as he introduced the draft, prompting cheers and "Go Jets go!" chants from fans wearing white T-shirts with the old red-and-blue Jets logo.

Ever since the announcement that the Atlanta Thrashers were moving to Winnipeg, fans have debated what to call the team. The overwhelming choice has been Jets -- what the team was called before it moved to Phoenix in 1996 and became the Coyotes.

Other options included Winnipeg Falcons, Manitoba Falcons, and Manitoba Moose, which was the name of the AHL team there.

Logos and jerseys will be unveiled at a later date. The team also announced the website -- winnipegjets.com -- is up and running.

Information from ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun was used in this report.

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