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NHL Notebook: Washington Capitals, NBA Wizards reportedly planning move to Virginia and Winnipeg Jets’ Kyle Connor out for substantial time
By Zach Laing2 months ago
The Washington Capitals are planning to relocate their team across the Potomac River, crossing state lines in Virginia.
ABC 7News DC’s Scott Abraham reported Tuesday afternoon that Capitals owner Ted Leonsis was set to attend an event Wednesday morning, where news of a relocation of not just that franchise but the NBA’s Washington Wizards would be announced.
Their new home would be in Alexandria, Virginia, where lawmakers in that state recently approved an eight million square foot sports and multi-use campus. According to Abraham, the project awaits approval from the full General Assembly and Alexandria City Council, and that is “everything goes as planned,” ground would be broken in 2025, with the move becoming official in 2028.
The event is set to take place at Potomac Yard in Alexandria, a 5.9-mile drive south from the Capital One Arena, which opened in December 1997, hosting the Capitals, Wizards and NCAA’s Georgetown Hoyas. It’s the 15th-oldest NHL arena, and 10th oldest NBA arena.
Ted Leonsis told The Washington Post in 2016 that he had “the worst building deal in professional sports,” adding he was paying $14-million per year in interest, $9-million per year in principal, and maintenance costs up to $13-million.
“By comparison, he said, most teams pay rent of $3 million to $4 million to play in municipally owned arenas,” the Post reported.
NBC Washington reported Ted Leonsis asked the District of Columbia for “some $600 million in improvements,” with D.C.’s Mayor launching a commission to study options. Ted Leonsis could reportedly back out of the lease, which runs until 2047, in 2027, by paying off a $36-million bond on the lease, the outlet added in their report.
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The Winnipeg Jets will have to adapt to life without Kyle Connor, as the winger is set to miss an extended period of time.
Connor, according to the Winnipeg News’ Mike McIntyre, is slated to miss six to eight weeks, a number that was echoed by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, but pushed back on by Jets bench boss Rick Bowness.
“Kyle is heading back to Winnipeg,” Bowness said. “He’ll be re-evaluated by our doctors tonight when he gets in and we’ll go from there. But as of now, obviously, he’s not playing tonight or tomorrow and we’ll know more tonight once our doctors have the chance to examine him themselves.”
“Not until we hear from our doctors,” Bowness said, will be when they have a cleared timeline.
Connor, 27, was injured Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks, when he found himself on the receiving end of a Ryan Strome knee. Both players left the game. Connor, due to his injury, while Strome left due to a game misconduct, the only discipline he faced due to the incident.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
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