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What's Thrashers Sale Holdup? NHL, Atlanta Spirit Haggling Relocation Fee, Reportedly

Thursday night, the long-awaited Atlanta Thrashers sale to Winnipeg was reported by the Globe and Mail of being over and done with, though virtually everybody else denied the report. TSN's Darren Dreger said significant issues were still being hammered out -- what could those be? Well, here might be one.

Senior writer Ken Campbell of The Hockey News reports the Atlanta Spirit Group and the NHL can't agree on just how big that relocation fee should be. It's long been thought that there would be a $60 million fee tacked on to the $110 million or so sale price of the Thrashers, which would go into the NHL's pocket.

As Campbell points out, this is not a traditional fee.

Reportedly, the ASG wants to keep some of that $60 million, while the NHL wants some of the ASG's $110 million. The way Campbell puts it, the NHL may want as much as $90 million for itself, or more than half the total sale price of the franchise.

Just a report, of course, but something to consider. This shouldn't rule out a sale by any means, as the ASG has already tipped every card in its hand by admitting it will definitely sell and definitely has no other buyers.

Hard to root for either the NHL or the ASG here, but clean them out, Bettman. We'd like them to need money from an Atlanta Hawks sale while they're at it.

Check back with SB Nation Atlanta's frequently updated Thrashers sale StoryStream for the latest updates. For discussion, join Bird Watchers Anonymous, SB Nation's Atlanta Thrashers community or head to one of our 34 other hockey communities. For more hockey, visit SB Nation's NHL hub.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.