Mark Chipman is the principal owner and chairman of the Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League. He is also chairman of True North Sports & Entertainment, which operates the Jets and the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
A Winnipeg native, Chipman was an honor student at the University of North Dakota, graduating with a degree in economics. He later obtained a law degree from the same institution. After working as a lawyer in Florida, he returned to his hometown in 1988 and joined Birchwood Automotive Group, a group of Winnipeg car dealerships founded by his father. Since 2001, he has been president of Birchwood's parent company, the Megill-Stephenson Company.
After the original Winnipeg Jets left for Phoenix in 1996, Chipman led a group that purchased the International Hockey League's Minnesota Moose and moved them to Winnipeg, renaming them the Manitoba Moose. With the demise of the IHL in 2001, Chipman was instrumental in getting the Moose and five other teams accepted into the American Hockey League. In 2005, Chipman was awarded the James A. Hardy Memorial Trophy as the AHL's top executive.
Also in 2001, Chipman and a group of local investors created True North Sports & Entertainment for the purpose of building a new sports and entertainment venue in downtown Winnipeg. Originally called the True North Centre, the MTS Centre open in 2004 and became the new home of the Moose. Ownership of the Moose was transferred to TNSE in 2003 in order to consolidate the operations of the team and new arena.
Chipman's real goal was to bring an NHL team back to Winnipeg in order to fill the void left by the Jets. As early as 2009, Chipman and True North were reported to be in talks to buy the Phoenix Coyotes from the NHL and move them back to Winnipeg. There were also rumors that the Atlanta Thrashers were up for sale and possible relocation to Winnipeg.
After on-and-off again talks with the NHL over a two-year span regarding the Coyotes , Chipman and TNSE were presented the opportunity to purchase the Atlanta Thrashers. In May 2011, Chipman announced they would be buying the Thrashers and moving them to Winnipeg for the 2011-12 NHL season, to play in the MTS Centre. At the 2011 NHL Entry Draft held in St. Paul, Minnesota; Chipman revealed the franchise's new name just before making its first-round pick. As a result, the Moose were relocated to St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador and renamed the St. John's IceCaps. The IceCaps are the top minor league affiliate of the Jets'.
Chipman also serves on the board of the Hockey Canada Foundation. He is married to Patti; they have three daughters.
- ↑ Hockey Canada Foundation Board of Directors
- ↑ "Winnipeg Jets deal: the investors who made it happen", CBC.ca, 2011-05-31. Retrieved on 2011-06-09.
- ↑ "Chipman's plight to return the NHL to Winnipeg", Rogers Sportsnet, 2011-05-31. Retrieved on 2011-06-09.
- ↑ Ken Wiebe, SUN Media (2009-10-04). Thrashers to Winnipeg?. canoe.ca. Retrieved on 2010-12-13.