Tuesday will be icy in more ways than one.
The Western Hockey League will announce Tuesday the Kootenay Ice will move from their current home in Cranbrook, B.C. to Winnipeg, where they will be known as the Winnipeg Ice, Global News has confirmed.
Ice co-owners Greg Fettes (founder and CEO of Winnipeg-based 24-7 InTouch) and Matt Cockell purchased the franchise from Edmonton’s Chynoweth family prior to the 2017-18 season. The prior owners had relocated the team to Cranbrook from Edmonton, AB in 1998.
Tuesday is also likely to be the coldest day of the year in Winnipeg, with forecasted highs of -29 C and wind chill values in the -50 range.
In September, sources told Global News the owners of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice were planning to move the franchise to Winnipeg in time for next season.
Global News reached out to Fettes and the Western Hockey League at that time and received the following statement:
“The entire Kootenay Ice organization is focused on providing a premier experience for our players, corporate partners, and patrons in Cranbrook,” Fettes said to Global News via email on Sept. 9.
“We look forward to another amazing season and continuing to build our relationship with the community of Cranbrook and the surrounding area.”
Fettes, who is the majority owner, didn’t respond when asked if the team was moving to Winnipeg, but he did buy two domain names, WinnipegIce.com and WinnipegIce.ca, in April 2017 right after the initial sale of the team went through.
Both sites remain active.
In November, a Cranbrook group working with the team to increase ticket sales suspended their operations, saying they’d lost faith in the owners and amidst speculation the team was being moved to the prairies.
WATCH: Are the Kootenay Ice on the move to Winnipeg?