NHL shuts down again: Does Atlanta notice, care?

The Thashers left after the 2010-2011 season.

The Thashers moved to Winnipeg.

Hockey fans in 30 cities are about to get a taste of what Atlanta has gone through in the last 16 months — no hockey.

Unable to reach agreement on a new labor deal, the National Hockey League locked out its players this weekend. The lockout came one season after the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg and became the Jets. Atlanta also lost an NHL team in 1980 when the Flames moved to Calgary.

The Flames left after the 1979-80 season.

The Flames moved to Calgary.

The lockout is the fourth shutdown for the NHL since 1992. As usual in pro sports, the issue is splitting money, in this case $3.3 billion in revenue. The owners want to decrease the amount that goes to players, while the union wants a guarantee that players get at least the $1.8 billion in salaries paid out last season.

The sides are so far apart that they didn’t even meet Sunday on the first day of the lockout. Here’s the latest news.

Do you still follow and miss hockey? Or are you bitter about Atlanta losing another team and fine if the NHL never plays another game — here or anywhere else?

147 comments Add your comment


September 16th, 2012
5:50 pm


September 16th, 2012
5:50 pm

Bettman is a snake. I hope the league folds. Atlanta was robbed of it’s franchise. I followed the NHL and spent money doing so for over ten years. After Bettman behaved so smugly while our franchise was run into the ground by the ASG weasels I could care less. Down with the NHL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


September 16th, 2012
5:55 pm

never been a hockey fan, so it doesn’t affect me.


September 16th, 2012
5:57 pm

always supported the thrashers every year… im loving that everyone is finally seeing how bad bettman actually is. he f’d the thrashers i still haven’t (and probably never will) forgive anyone for the move. still a sour taste in my mouth.


September 16th, 2012
6:27 pm

I definitely miss having an NHL franchise in Atlanta. As far as sports go, I will only support hockey (Nashville Predators, Carolina Hurricanes, Gwinnett Gladiators, local college club teams) until the NHL is allowed (yes, allowed, ASG) to return. Heck, not having the NHL here discourages to spend money on non-sports related distractions in Atlanta. I recommend all local hockey fans to put their money where their hearts are.

And AJC, would it hurt you to have better coverage of the teams I mentioned above on your online sports page?

Down with the ASG!

Still bitter

September 16th, 2012
6:35 pm

Bettman did nothing to protect this city and it’s franchise from its lying backstabbing owners. In other words the owners of the Hawks. He fought for other cities including Phoenix, Nashville and Tampa. Columbus Florida new jersey Dallas have all had financial troubles but all still have teams. Bettman sacrificed atlanta to winnipeg when phoenix deal fell through It is a great sport but Bettman is driving it into ground and is the most hated commissioner in all sports. Hawks owners I believe are still most hated owners. Bettman and Atlanta Spirit do not care about Atlanta so why should we care about NHL

Glory between the Hedges

September 16th, 2012
7:14 pm

6 comments in 2 hours tells you all you need to know. I could care less. The NHL is horribly run. I havent watched a game since the thrashers left. They can’t even get games on a real channel.


September 16th, 2012
7:14 pm

Yes, I miss hockey here in Atlanta, but still follow it (though not as closely) and root for the Jets in Winnipeg.

IF the NHL plays this season, I hope to attend a game in Nashville and, fingers crossed, attend the Winter Classic at the Big House in Michigan on New Year’s Day.

Truth is, hockey would probably struggle to succeed here even under the best of circumstances. The Thrashers instead were dealt the worst of hands, doomed from the start with an inept general manager in Don Waddell, then the purchase by the ASG which, as was revealed in court documents, never wanted the hockey team at all. Add an economic downturn that reduced available sports entertainment dollars, and bye-bye Thrashers.

And yes, as other posters noted, Gary Bettman has a fair degree of culpability as well.


September 16th, 2012
7:28 pm

When the Thrashers left I totally gave up on following hockey. No personal connection. No point. If I ever moved somewhere with a team that would probably change, but the game is not compelling enough in itself.

Hockey Pucks???

September 16th, 2012
7:31 pm

What ever happened to THRASH, our beloved mascot?

Bob Smith

September 16th, 2012
7:31 pm

What’s hockey?


September 16th, 2012
7:42 pm

Atlanta doesn’t need or want hockey. If they never played another hockey game nobody here would care.

Max Sizemore

September 16th, 2012
7:47 pm

I was a hockey fan until that series in the 1980s between Canada and Russia. The Russians played such attractive, skillful hockey against that collection of thugs that I decided I was nuts to watch North
Americans play.


September 16th, 2012
7:51 pm

Still very bitter about how Atlanta lost the Thrashers, how the franchise was poorly run from the beginning to end. Was a southern born hockey fan from the Flames till the Thrashers left last year. Supporting the team was a big part of my entertainment $$ the past decade. Just follow the NHL on a very casual basis now, mainly keeping up with top headlines online and how some of the former team is doing. Bettman and the ASG idiots thumbed there nose at the city and that pretty much took mine and my friends and family’s fan spirit for good. Of course the reality is the hard work and intelligence it was going to take to turn the Thrashers into some type of success here was not within Bettman and the ASG capabilities.

Don’t really care they are dumb enough as a league to have another lockout and agree there are big issues to address if they ever expect to build a larger fan base like other pro sports. How they handled Atlanta overall shows they never really cared or didn’t know how to. Oh well, life marches on….

Chicago Bob

September 16th, 2012
8:08 pm

Perfect storm, bad ownership, horrible commissioner and an average team. Unlikely that major league hockey will return to Atlanta. It is sad and I am still very unhappy about it. Hope Bettman has a long and happy lockout. He is doing what he is good at.


September 16th, 2012
8:39 pm

I notice.
I’ve also noticed that none of he Atlanta Spirit Group has been man enough to apologize for mismanaging the Thrashers resulting in Atlanta not having an NHL team. Do you guys tell your kids to apologize when they make a mistake or blame someone else like you guys blamed the fans?

Mike Luck

September 16th, 2012
8:46 pm

Some really good posts here. Thanks for your thoughts.

[...] ReportNHL Lockout: How Not to Build a Fan BaseBlogcritics.org (blog)Examiner.com -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 1,145 news [...]


September 16th, 2012
9:34 pm

Hey, I am still a fan of the game but this game is run like a joke.

I wish the Hawks would leave and the ATL Spirit would just go away. As far as I am concerned there are only two major league teams in ATL right now.

No one will take them memories away from me. We had some real good players walk through the doors in ATL, and Winnipeg got a nice nucleus to build something special. Too bad we cannot enjoy it here.


September 16th, 2012
9:36 pm

Atlanta doesn’t need or want hockey. If they never played another hockey game nobody here would care.

You are wrong Sam. You may not want hockey but there are people who do want it.

I despise NASCAR and motor sports,, does not mean no one wants it.


September 16th, 2012
9:45 pm

Grew up in Atl,therefore football comes first. That being said, Yankee flat ball might be the best live sport there is, and the players are down to earth, tough as nails, and not prima donnas. Drinking beer at CNN center was a blast before games. Now that the thrashers are gone, I pull for the Flames again.


September 16th, 2012
10:00 pm

Yeah, I love hockey and think its a great sport. That being said, the NHL turned its back on Atlanta (while it didn’t in the Hockey Hotbeds of Nashville, when the team was horrible and had ownership as bad as the ASG, and Arizona). They took over a team with no ownership in AZ, but couldn’t do that here. Will never make sense to me, no matter how it is spun.

I would love nothing more than to see Hockey sit for a year or two. I feel bad for the people that are affected in the arenas that won’t be able to work, but the NHL is messed up from the top down. Any league with 4 stopages in 20 years should tell you something.

I would welcome hockey back in Atlanta, just not owned by ASG.


September 16th, 2012
10:02 pm

I really miss the Thrashers. More than any other sport I found hockey to be the one that’s the most exciting to see in person and most of the money I spent on sports tickets was for Blueland. I am still really pissed at both ASG and the NHL for taking them from me. I have kept my pledge not to spend another penny with ASG since the Thrashers departure. That means I refuse to attend a Hawks game.
Have no enthusiasm to watch another NHL game. Without a “team” in the fight I have no interest. I am sure the NHL will screw this up and once again a season will be cancelled. Who cares. Hockey is already dead to me. The only ones I feel sorry for is the players who give their blood and guts(literally) every night and deserve better.

Biff Pocoroba

September 16th, 2012
10:19 pm

Its about like arena football. The Georgia Force shut their doors and took down their website last week and no one really noticed.


September 16th, 2012
10:29 pm

The NHL punished ATLANTA for it’s Crappy owners… The fans were to one hurt. If the NHL folded, and went up in flames, nobody here would give a good piss to slow it down. Gary Bettmen is a scoundrel and an egg sucking dog! Winnepeg won’t last….


September 16th, 2012
11:03 pm

I was a Thrasher STH from the beginning. Spent a lot of time in Canada as a kid and grew up with hockey as a big part of my life. My kids love hockey even though they grew up here in Atlanta. My son played youth football and football is as important to him as hockey is to every Canadian kid.

After what the ASG and the NHL did to the Thrashers I like many Thrasher fans had every reason to give up on hockey. But hockey is in my blood just as football is a way of life here in SEC country. I am just too big a fan not to care. I just hope Fehr and Bettman (why are 2 non-Canadians controlling this sport?) beat the hell out of each other for a couple of years before they get back to playing.

Not a Fan!

September 16th, 2012
11:27 pm

NO. We don’t miss it. I didn’t even read the article. Just skipped down here to post this. For all the hockey fans that want to lament over Atlanta not having a team, buy the hockey package on your cable or dish? We have football, then basketball until baseball season starts. Who misses a hockey season that goes until almost Summer? Not me.

James Andrew

September 16th, 2012
11:51 pm

Face it. We’re not a hockey town. When I went to Thrashers games, the place was at least half empty. If you want to see what life is like in a hockey town, go to a Blackhawks game in Chicago, or the Bruins in Boston.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

[...] ReportNHL Lockout: How Not to Build a Fan BaseBlogcritics.org (blog)Examiner.com -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 1,169 news [...]


September 17th, 2012
1:25 am

Was a season ticket holder to the Thrashers. My wife & I miss going to the games. Miss the fans. Miss the sport. Gary Bettman sold Atlanta out. Helped Nashville, Phoenix, but not Atlanta. The ASG sold Atlanta out. They did not give a damn about hockey. We will never buy a ticket to anything ASG owns or runs. No Hawks, no tickets to concerts in Philips Arena, nothing. If the ASG was running a lemonaide stand with girl scouts – we would walk right by.

Ths ASG – S**KS!!!!

Bob from Cobb

September 17th, 2012
1:49 am

I have not cared one whit about hockey since “De Flame” moved to Calgary in 1980. I miss Boomer and Jiggs and the Flames. I had a mild interest in the Knights. I could care less about the Thrashers. A buddy of mine from Detroit told me when they named Don Waddell as G.M. he was one of the biggest losers in the NHL. He was ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! And since the ASG did not care about hockey in the ATL,I don’t care about ANYTHING they do.

Class of '98

September 17th, 2012
1:53 am

I’m glad there is no hockey. It means more football coverage on SportsCenter.

I couldn’t care less about hockey.


September 17th, 2012
6:22 am

Unfortunately we are not getting another NHL team here, and once it comes back I will still get up to Nashville or Plantation Florida once a yr to get my NHL fix.

How much more football coverage do you want, I don’t think having the Thrashers around did anything to take away any football coverage.

ATL is more than just a college and HS football town. I like NFL and top 25 CF but there are other sports out there.

ASG did nothing but spit on its fans & the league stabbed us in the back in part because they wanted the opportunity to add True North to its fold, and when the city of Glendale came through to keep the Coyotes, that was opportune time for the league to pounce on us and get the deal done to more the Thrashers to WPG.

The league did stab us in the back but that was just hard cold business, they had a viable ownership group with a hockey hungry city and they helped broker a business more that benefited them. Us hockey fans were powerless and door mats .. truth is they owe us nothing and we really do not owe them anything.

Very bitter ending — the sport should have worked. I knew of even proud Southern born fans who took to the game. There was a place for the NHL but its probably blown here now.

I do not want the Hawks — but they are not leaving. The powers that be won’t let that happen.


September 17th, 2012
6:46 am

does anyone care


September 17th, 2012
6:50 am

Schadenfreude. Agree with previous posters, ATL is cooked as far as NHL hockey goes. The next cycle of moves will all be North of the Border or next to it. The Winnipeg papers are saying all they have to do is move struggling US/Southern franchises to Canada and there will be so much more income that any more strikes/lockouts won’t be “necessary”. The sad fact is, demonstrated by both the Flames and Thrashers, Atlanta has a passionate core of 13000 die hard NHL fans. That will not sustain an NHL franchise this or any other day. Unfortunately ASG did everything possible to poison the well and not grow that core to a critical mass. Best hope for this town is an eventual upgrade of Gwinnett from ECHL to AHL.
For those of us in that core, another lockout is another of a thousand cuts from a sport we love(d). The “I could care less” from the fringe we could have and should have grown is totally understandable.


September 17th, 2012
6:55 am

Still somewhat bitter about the move, but thanks to Bill Tiller, aka Rawhide, I adopted the Blackhawks as my secondary team since they’re in the West. I still follow them and to a lesser extent the former Thrashers. I went to Nashville last March for the Preds vs. Jets game. Very bittersweet, but it was nice seeing all the Thrashers jerseys/fans that came out. Maybe someday I’ll win the lottery and bring the NHL back to Atlanta.


September 17th, 2012
7:15 am

You know what to some of you posters ——-


Troll out.

Good posts to some of those who do care.


September 17th, 2012
7:20 am

I do think that our sports talk media did have a bias aganst hockey — they did not want to do the work to lear about another sport.

Some of them are too lazy to go beyond College Footballl and a little Braves talk.

The AJC did have decent Thrashers coverage — I hope the hockey stories will continue — that fan base is still here.

I do think we have a chance for an AHL team but that is a way off. ECHL is cheaper to run. The Glads are nice to see once or twice a yr but come on, its ECHL hokcey, but that is all we have.

I do hope the youth leagues will sustain in some form. If kids play, there is hope to expand this fan base.

Maybe in 50 yrs we might get another chance.


September 17th, 2012
7:31 am

To H with the Winnipeg papers — they are one of the most detestable fan bases in the league.

I will never forget how they treated us on the old Thrashers blog when we were in the process of losing our team — I do root for that team to lose.

And their announcers on their radio side stuck it to us in their first game, like they had to do that. Hey, you got the team, why dig it in to a fan base that missed its team.

Screw Winnipeg. I hope they have to stay in the SE division for some time to make life inconvenient for them.

Putting On The Foil

September 17th, 2012
7:38 am

Hell yea I miss it. I miss it like I missed the Flames when they left. It’s just a damn shame the way things went down here in Georgia. I also miss Rawhides hockey forum and all the folks on there that I conversed with. That being said, I can’t bring myself to root for the Jets, although I wish the ex-Thrasher players the best as individuals. I’ve tried tried going back to the Flames, but I’ve become too long and far removed from 30 years ago. As with the current situation with the lockout, I could care less if the league folds.

the number34

September 17th, 2012
7:57 am

Hell to the no I don’t miss hockey. It’s football season and the Braves are going to the playoffs. You can take the NBA and NHL and have more space for Macy’s ads for all I care.


September 17th, 2012
8:32 am

I miss the old Thrashers message boards — it was a fourm of regulars and a link to the game.

Wonder if any old message board regulars got to see this article.

Is the fan club still in operation is some shape of form?

What has been most detestable is that every vestage of them being here has been taken down. When they painted over the 2008 All-Star game logo that was classless.

I look for Thrashers stuff when I browse thrift stores.


September 17th, 2012
8:33 am

I see where Evander Kane signed a big 6 yr deal after a 30 goal season.

Not gonna be a Jets fan but good for him — I will root for him and a few others to be successful as individuals.

Remember when he KOed Matt Cooke on one punch — that was beautiful.


September 17th, 2012
9:45 am

NO !!!!!!!!!!


September 17th, 2012
10:07 am

it been ploy between asg idiots, NHL bosses, Canadian friendly media, and our mayor did nothing to protect thrashers. real sport fans never forget this treason. one man never going get missed don waddell and need to ask current hawks owner levenson why he let this stupid men for decade to kill hockey. it’s a ploy.


September 17th, 2012
10:10 am

No one cares because year after year the ASG put a poor product on the ice. Not only that they did nothing to promote youth hockey. The ASG is 100% to blame.

If the owners are so broke, why go and sign guys to 10 year $100M+ contracts? Gonna call BS on the owners.

Sage of Bluesland

September 17th, 2012
10:23 am

I care! I miss Donny W and the boys :’(

At least I get to see my hero Keith Brooking tonight. What a dreamboat <3


September 17th, 2012
10:33 am

I not only don’t care, I am happy about it. Now we won’t have to spend time on the talk sports shows in Atlanta to talk NHL when no more than 500 people in all of Atlanta even care a little bit. Please stay on strike.