Monday, April 11, 2011

Thrashers want to stay in Atlanta, but does Atlanta care?


Now I'm not going to act like every other bleeding heart Canadian screaming for a team to go to Quebec City or Winnipeg, as I feel that both of these locales have a ways to go before they can support another major professional team. But Atlanta, in it's second go around with a new NHL franchise, has essentially fallen flat. People just don't know or care about this team in their market.

I also feel that winning has a lot to do with fan interest, as the Islanders proved this past year when the attendance skyrocketed towards the end of the season, when the wins were far more common than not. I wonder if the NHL should step in when a team is first put in place, put people who know what they are doing in to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen again. Entering a market that the NHL isn't well known in, maybe putting your best foot forward would work better, as opposed to the mess that teams like Atlanta have?


ATLANTA -- Thrashers president Don Waddell understands that local NHL fans want to know something definite about the team's future in Atlanta.

A few minutes after his team missed the playoffs for the 10th time in their 11-year history, Waddell, the
Thrashers' general manager from 1999-2010, says the search for new ownership is nowhere near over.
"It's been a work in progress," Waddell said. "We're certainly going to continue to move forward and do everything possible to keep this team in Atlanta."

The Atlanta Spirit, a group that owns the Thrashers, NBA Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena, has sought to sell the NHL franchise for several years and claims the hockey club has lost over US$150 million since 2005.
"We've had lots of people interested," Waddell said. "We've had a couple of people move to the next step. Nothing is close at all."

Team captain Andrew Ladd, who just finished his first season with the Thrashers after helping the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup last year, wants new ownership to keep the club in Atlanta.
"Hopefully they can get it figured out and the team can stay here," Ladd said.

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