Thin Ice

Money, Politics and the Demise of an NHL Franchise

By Jim Silver  

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Thousands of Winnipegers rallied on the streets while corporate businessmen fought each other behind closed doors. Information was manipulated. Arms were twisted. Politicians capitulated. Adults wept on open-line radio shows. Children broke open their piggy banks. This was the campaign to keep the NHL’s Jets from leaving Winnipeg. The book is about hockey, but it is not about The Game. It is about the business of hockey and how changes in this business are threatening the games survival in Canada. And while the story is set in Winnipeg it is not about a single city. Given the new corporate-driven, continental business of NHL hockey, this story will almost certainly be played out in other Canadian cities.

“Jim Silver has done all of us who love the game of hockey an enormous favour. For too many years, Canadians have let the myth of the game shroud the reality of the business. While we think of frozen ponds, what really counts is revenue streams. And his examination of the southward course that stream is taking is a cautionary tale for us all.”

— Roy MacGregor, sports writer, Ottawa Citizen and author of Road Games: A Year in the Life of the NHL

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  • Foreword (David Whitson)
  • Introduction
  • The Business of NHL Hockey
  • On the Margins: Pro Hockey in Winnipeg
  • To Build or Not to Build* Heroes
  • White Nights and the Kids: A Resurrection Story
  • Save Our Jets…and Shift the Risks
  • The Spirit of Manitoba
  • Conclusion
  • Afterword (John Loxley)


  • Jim Silver

    University of Winnipeg

    Jim Silver is a professor in the Department of Urban and Inner-City Studies at the University of Winnipeg. His research interests are in inner-city, poverty-related, and community development issues. His most recent book is Solving Poverty: Innovative Solutions from Winnipeg’s Inner City (Fernwood 2016). Jim is a member of the Manitoba Research Alliance and the leader of the Housing and Neighbourhood Revitalization stream of its SSHRC Partnership project, “Partnering for Change: Community-Based Solutions for Aboriginal and Inner-City Poverty.”

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