- Scott Burnside, NHL
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The "For Sale" sign isn't up in front of Ron Hainsey's Atlanta home, but it will be soon.
The Atlanta Thrashers defenseman watched, as presumably most of his teammates did on Tuesday, as the NHL confirmed the long-anticipated sale of the Thrashers to True North Sports and Entertainment, setting the stage for the team's relocation to Winnipeg for the 2011-12 season.
"It's weird," Hainsey told ESPN.com shortly after the announcement was made in Winnipeg.
Five years ago, when he was single, a move like this might have been greeted by a "what the heck, bring it on." But Hainsey is married now and has a 7½-month-old daughter, Alexa, to consider.
"There's so much more that goes into it now," he said.
He and his wife would like to have another child, so there will be finding new doctors and all the things that come with setting up a home in a new locale.
"You get attached to things," said Hainsey, who signed with the Thrashers before the 2008-09 season.
Not that he's complaining about his lot in life.
"What we're going to go through is pretty normal, like anyone who's had to move for a job. It's really not a big deal," Hainsey said.
In the coming days, he will be dealing with realtors in the Atlanta area to try to sell his home and will begin figuring out what to do for housing in Winnipeg.
But the big defenseman, the 13th overall pick in the 2000 entry draft, is also looking forward to what will be a dramatically different hockey experience.
"Obviously, you wanted it to work out [in Atlanta], but you're going to a place that's going to be really excited for the arrival of a team," Hainsey said. "It's hard not to be excited by that stuff."
He watched on television Tuesday as hundreds of people gathered in Winnipeg to celebrate the announcement. There is now a burden on the Thrashers (or whatever they will be called) to repay that loyalty by making the franchise work the second time around.
"This is going to be a really exciting place to go and play. It's up to the players to make sure it's that way for a long time to come," Hainsey said.
This won't be Hainsey's first trip to Winnipeg. In the AHL, he played a number of times in both the old Winnipeg Arena and in the new MTS Centre, where the Thrashers will play.
Now, he's looking forward to making Winnipeg his home.
"I think you could kind of see where this was headed a week or two ago. It's always easier to get moving in a direction when you know where you're going," he said.
8dScott Burnside and Craig Custance