No deal yet on Thrashers’ search for new owner

“I understand their frustration but as I have said, we are not allowed to comment on discussions with potential buyers and we must operate the business as usual until we find a solution,” Levenson told The Associated Press.

Bettman will follow the turnout by Thrashers fans at Saturday’s rally.

“It will be interesting to see how many people show up at the rally on Saturday,” Bettman said.

Levenson would not comment on the Toronto report or the status of talks with any potential buyer.

True North owns Winnipeg’s MTS Centre, which would be home to the Thrashers if the deal is finalized, and the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose.

Bettman said “time is getting short” if a deal can be reached in time for the Thrashers to move for the 2011-12 season.

The Thrashers’ average attendance this season was 13,469, 28th out of 30 teams. Attendance has declined as the Thrashers, who made their debut as an expansion franchise in 1999, have made only one playoff appearance and some fans became impatient with team management.

The ownership group led by Levenson and Michael Gearon Jr. also owns the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and operating rights to Philips Arena.

The Hawks also could be sold, but they are bound by their lease to Philips Arena to remain in Atlanta.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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