Updated: Arizona votes to keep Coyotes for another season … and beyond

As expected, the Glendale City Council agreed to pay the NHL an additional $25 million that would keep the Coyotes in Arizona for another season. The vote, 5-2, was agreed upon late Tuesday night. The city paid the NHL $25 million last week for operating expenses for the league-owned team for last season.

With the Coyotes safe for another season, the NHL can continue to work out a deal with prospective buyer Matthew Hulsizer. It could also search for another owner as the deal with Hulsizer has been complicated and been met with some resistance from a local watchdog group concerned with the use of taxpayer money.

The vote could prove to be more than a one-year fix despite the on-going ownership issue. Included by the vote was a provision that the NHL has the right to renew the agreement annually for 10 years. That could mean up to $250 million to the league to cover the losses incurred by the franchise.

Phoenix has long had the eye of True North Sports and Entertainment, a Winnipeg group interested in purchasing the franchise and relocating it to Manitoba.

The news is not good for the Thrashers as True North is likely to move its efforts to obtain a team to Atlanta.

“We are continuing to seek solutions for the Thrashers,” Thrashers co-owner Bruce Levenson told the AJC Wednesday. “I will  not comment on any speculation.”

The Atlanta Spirit has been trying to sell the Thrashers in earnest for several years. Co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in February, and again last week, that there is a “sense of urgency” to find a buyer and/or investor to keep the team here. If one can not be found, relocation is possible. With Winnipeg ready to pay $170 million, $60 million which would go to the NHL as a relocation fee, the door is open.

I was told this week that such a deal “could move quickly.”

I know this is not good news for Thrashers fans. The fact is there is a possibility Atlanta could lose an NHL franchise for the second time. A move may not come in time for next year. It may not come at all. The search does continue for a local buyer with at least two groups expressing interest in keeping the team here. However talks have not moved past the preliminary stage. Perhaps Tuesday’s news out of Arizona will speed up the process.

I expect a lot more will be known in the next 7-10 days.

Colleague Tim Tucker and I continue to report this story and will bring you any news as there are developments.

148 comments Add your comment

AtlFlamesFan

May 11th, 2011
8:02 am

Chris V,

“I was told this week that such a deal ‘could move quickly.’ ”

Assuming that you cannot divulge your sources, could you at least give us an indication of what direction it comes from? We all know that if it was up to the scums at ASG, the deal to ship the Thrash north would have happened a long time ago. Same story from the Winnipeg folks. However, the brakes on this process has always been the NHL. Has there been any indication that the Mr. Bettmen is ready to give up on Atlanta so quickly, after working so hard to keep the Yotes in Phoenix?

BigMomma

May 11th, 2011
8:09 am

I know the Thrashers have been “for sale” for several years, but I thought Gearon said they could not seriously consider anything until recently because of the lawsuit? That the Belkin situation caused them to not have clear title to the team? If this is true, then how can anyone say AS LLC has put in enough time to find a new owner who will keep the team here?

mcrin

May 11th, 2011
8:09 am

I echo AtlFlamesFan…why would the NHL go through so many hoops to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix and then let the Thrashers go in a heartbeat?

Let’s hope the NHL fights as hard to keep a team here…and that the clowns at ASG are gone as quickly as possible. Can we send THEM to Winnipeg?

Nate

May 11th, 2011
8:10 am

“I was told this week that such a deal “could move quickly.””

Chris – This is all conjecture on your part. By not naming a credible source all you do is p**s off Thrashers fans. Unless you are posting new quotes from Daly or Bettman there’s no point. I, like many other Thrahers’ fans, find it hard to believe that after standing behind franchises in Tampa, Nashville, and now Phoenix for three years with similar ownership problems the NHL will sell the Thrashers off to True North in a matter of weeks.

Do you really expect us to believe that the NHL thinks Glendale, Tampa, Nashville, and Winnipeg are better hockey markets than Atlanta? Bettman may be a lot of things, but he didn’t get to where he is now by being stupid. Any moron can see the problem with the Thrashers is a lack of ownership, not a lack of interest in hockey.

This Guy Right Here

May 11th, 2011
8:13 am

Chris Vivs doing his best to cater to Winnipeg trolls yet again.

Nate

May 11th, 2011
8:13 am

Also, don’t tell me the NHL needs to sell to recoup losses from having to take over the Phoenix ownership. That new TV deal the NHL signed off on with NBC and Comcast says the NHL’s finances are just fine.

DeanC

May 11th, 2011
8:22 am

Soon enough a the penny will drop. Hockey is and always will be a a niche sport. Over the years the NHL has tried many ways to bring “new” fans to the sport but it has not worked. Unfortunately it has been a pipe dream that ATL can sustain a hockey team. Again there is not enough of a fan base since it is a niche sport and I have always been a hockey fan for 30+ years, am a northern transplant to the ATL area, spent my time & monrey for over 10 years since I had become a Thrasher (ex-Devils) fan by deafult.

Now there are sustasinable fans on the sport on the blogs of the AJC but it is sorely the minority. Reality is = hockey can not be sustained just like it is hard to find “greens” on the menu in Camden. That is the way it is because it is that way 8-)

B. Thenet

May 11th, 2011
8:30 am

DeanC: I am a NJ transplant too. If the Devils missed the playoffs 10 of 11 years they would have moved to Nashville in the mid 90’s.

Few markets in the US would tolerate the Thrashers level of suck.

mcrin

May 11th, 2011
8:31 am

DeanC, I respectfully disagree with you. We are just now beginning to see the fruits of hockey in Atlanta, check out the youth leagues in the northern burbs (someone please open a rink on the SOUTH side) and the roller leagues on the south side. A new generation is growing the game here.

Also, the first 5 to 6 years was just fine attendance-wise. The Thrashers were mid-pack in average attendance.

Losing and a lousy ownership group will keeps fans away. It happened in Pittsburgh, it happened in Chicago, it happened in Washington, it happened in Boston. Why do people expect Atlanta to be any different?

Nate

May 11th, 2011
8:32 am

DeanC – How do you explain the Thrashers having numerous sellouts and averaging over 16,000 fans per game the only year they made the playoffs. Everybody on this blog buy up all the tickets?

This Guy Right Here

May 11th, 2011
8:33 am

DeanC, are you aware of the growth of youth and adult hockey in the Atlanta area at all? Also, dropping the fact that you’ve been a hockey fan for 30 years doesn’t make you an expert on the sport’s viability in Atlanta. The thrashers were never given a chance in this town.

Also, I wonder if you have the same feelings for your Devils, a team whose attendance is regularly in the NHL basement. Their attendance was terrible even after winning the Stanley Cup. We should start Devils to Winnipeg rumors.

DeanC is an idiot

May 11th, 2011
8:45 am

WITHOUT respect, I disagree with DeanC. He’s a moron. Would he have suggested that the Blackhawks move before they won the Cup and that Chicago wasn’t a hockey town??? Go back to Jersey and stay there….

Ox Baker

May 11th, 2011
9:02 am

Nevermind Dean, the issue is lack of anything concrete to report. Chris is fanning the Flames as it were. If there were groups speaking publickly, we would know. But they aren’t. Quotes from ASG jackholes mean nothing. So we must be patient until something tangible surfaces.
Until then, a heart punch for Detroit, Boston and Vancouver….

canofpeas

May 11th, 2011
9:02 am

I keep coming back to the fact that it would be ludicrous for the nhl to replace the atlanta market with winnipeg. To the extent they could keep that swap from happening I think they will.

KLS1

May 11th, 2011
9:08 am

That’s a lot of $ and the ASG wants desperately to shed this team, the only person that can save us is Bettman putting the breaks on this deal, but the $60M in relocation money doesn’t help. And with the fight in PHX I’m not sure he has it in him to hold another franchise in limbo until an owner appears.

It is just a crime that a new franchise that went 10 years being completely uncompetitive, with only one tiny sniff of the playoffs is blaming the fans for the possible relocation.

We deserve better, this management and ownership group should all rot in hell for destroying a new franchise faster than any other in the history of sports and then trying to blame it on the fans.

ASG, admit you are over your head, sell the Hawks/Thrash/Arena at a discount and leave town.

[...] Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: So with the Coyotes remaining Glendale for another season, the True North Sports and Entertainment group will turn their attention to Atlanta in their quest to bringing the NHL back to Winnipeg. The Atlanta Spirit have been trying to sell the Thrashers for several years, and there is a “sense of urgency” to find a buyer/investor to keep the team in Atlanta. Relocation is possible if they can’t find an owner to keep the team there. True North could be ready with $170 million, $60 million would go to the NHL for relocation fees. The deal could move quickly. A deal may not get done in time for next year, if at all to move the club. There are 2 local groups showing interest to keep the team, but talks haven’t gotten past the preliminary stages. [...]

jebediah

May 11th, 2011
9:10 am

ludicrous? Free tics to an ATL and 9.99 for an ATL vs MTL game is ludicrous… team is leaving, however, you may have the glory of a lame duck season.

Thomas Magnum

May 11th, 2011
9:12 am

It drives me crazy that there is little to no info what any steps are being taken to keep the team in Atlanta. There surely has to be some sort of effort going on from the NHL’s end.

Get The Puck Out

May 11th, 2011
9:13 am

It has nothing to do with fans and everything to do with ownership and lack of support from them in dollars. No one can lay any blame on the fans. Any team in any sports that would have been in the same situtation as the Thrashers have for the whole existence would be in the same boat. I just hope someone saves the team before this ship sinks.

moriler

May 11th, 2011
9:13 am

Speaking as a Thrashers fan who expects the Thrashers to stay (True North will try to wave money around, the NHL will stall them just long enough to make the Atlanta buyers actually step up instead of waffling), I have to say that Glendale got rooked big-time in this deal. At least the Atlanta buyers aren’t expecting the city to fork over a ton of change… sheesh.

AtlFlamesFan

May 11th, 2011
9:15 am

I too thought that a $60m relocation fee would be incentive for the NHL to let the Thrashers move. But that would have also applied to Phoenix, and obviously that did not happen. Bettmen must believe that the NHL’s long term interests are better served in Phoneix than Winnipeg. I cannot imagine that he would think any less of Atlanta. Especially considering what we have gone through with our ownership.

Sanjeev

May 11th, 2011
9:19 am

I agree with others how about the ASG moves to Winnipeg and sell it to someone who cares. Terrible ownership. No stars want to play here and the draft picks who become stars leave ASAP (Heatley, Hossa, and Kovie) because they know they’ll never make the playoffs. Outside of Cubs fans no one is willing to pay to see a losing team year after year.

Alan R.

May 11th, 2011
9:21 am

I’ve been told by an unnamed gas station attendant that I could win the lottery. Such a win “could happen quickly,” as soon as 10:59pm tonight.

Look, Chris. I liked what you did during the regular season. Until this “story” started to take shape, that is. Since then, there’s been a lot of talking, but yet saying nothing at all.

The conjecture and speculation in this and similar stories is painful to read through. Not because of what might happen, mind you, but because there’s very little actual reporting being done.

I respect what you’ve done thus far, Chris, and respect you as a person. However, with no investigations and no real reporting, I can’t say that I enjoy reading this stuff. This is TSN or Winnipeg Free Press level of gossip.

Thomas Magnum

May 11th, 2011
9:25 am

Amen Alan R!

shootoutloss

May 11th, 2011
9:25 am

Agreed with Alan R. C-Viv is doing nothing but brightening the spirits of the Winnipeg people. Starting to side with JK more than I am with Viv now. At least JK’s story is beneficial to us

jd

May 11th, 2011
9:38 am

I’m out of town and can’t get 680 on a work computer. Anyone know what JK had to say this morning on the Rude Awakening?

I’m not sure what Cviv’s agenda with this story is. Very odd takes on the situation. And the moving quickly comment just hangs there like a motza ball…

Chris Vivlamore

May 11th, 2011
9:43 am

Look folks, I understand your frustration with this whole situation. If you want to take it out on me, that’s fine. I’ve been in the newspaper business for 25 years. I have done solid reporting on this story. A simple update on what happened in Phoenix and all of a sudden I’m feeding the trolls and passing misinformation. What do you want me to do, not report that and how it relates to the Thrashers?

I can tell you I speak to a lot of people on a daily basis.People in the league and in the organization. So does colleague Tim Tucker now that he has assumed a sports business beat. We are giving you the facts as they stand today. I have not been wrong about anything and have tried to give you some perspective.

I have not written that the Thrashers are definitely going to move. It’s a possibility folks. It may not happen this season. I have written that also. There is a short window.

I have not suggested that the fans of the Thrashers are responsible for the current situation.

Finally, for anyone to suggest I want the Thrashers to leave or I’m just trying to sell newspapers or online viewers is off base. I’m an impartial reporter trying to work a story that I think is a major importance. I trust you do to.

Thanks for listening.

Crommers

May 11th, 2011
9:45 am

Look, I like you guys in Atlanta. (unlike Phoenix) but you do have to realize Winnipeg is very interested in any topic of NHL relocation and this will remain the case until we get a team.
I sincerely wish you guys the best of luck (unlike Phoenix) in keeping your team. But until that team is sold, we’re sitting here with deep pockets and a deep hockey fanbase. But you all have to understand that this is equally as excruciating for Winnipeg as well. We all know what your going through, trust me. Thats why there would have been some justice in the Phoenix debacle. Truth be told, I am far more interested in Buf, Ladd, Little, Kane, Enstrom, Pavelec, etc… you guys have a great team. Someone commented earlier on the 1 out of 11 seasons with success, Winnipeg can handle this. We just enjoy watching the best in the world and having that chance to hoist the cup. It means a lot to us. of course winning is always preferred. I hope it can mean more to most of Atlanta and you guys can thrive. Personally, im just so tired of this soap opera. Good luck you guys.

This Guy Right Here

May 11th, 2011
9:52 am

Crommers, Winnipeg had playoff contenders in the past, and couldn’t break 90% capacity in a 15,000 seat arena. And during pre-season, the MTS Centre hosted the Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks (with native Winnipegger Toews) and the Lightning to a non-sell out crowd (less than 15,000). If Winnipeg is so NHL-starved, as the internet trolls claim, then I would’ve expected standing room only seats and 100%+ capacity during that game. The fact is Winnipeg is too small of a market to sustain a professional sports franchise long-term.

AtlFlamesFan

May 11th, 2011
9:53 am

So you wanted to be a journalist?! Now if you were reporting from Afghanistan, you’d have real bullets flying by your head, rather than the verbal ones being sent your way.

J(Z)

May 11th, 2011
9:55 am

Some of you guys are wanting C-Viv to just tell us what we want to hear. I don’t think that’s realistic.

I’m still optimistic (for some reason) that we’re keeping the Thrashers in town. Bettman has gone through hoops to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix for years now and he hasn’t even had a chance to get started here in ATL. Phoenix has a winning team, makes the playoffs frequently and still has attendance issues. ATL will support a winning, even a decent team. We just haven’t gotten the chance because of the Spiritless owners we’re currently stuck with. I really don’t think Bettman will just ignore Atlanta. Fingers are crossed, but I’m optimistic on this one.

jimcee

May 11th, 2011
9:56 am

A season ticket blitz should be organized immediately with the help of local media (newspapers,radio,TV) as well as businesses with headquarters in Metro Atlanta.Sacramento (NBA’s Kings) and Glendale/Phoenix have recently succeeded in keeping their teams for at least one more season.Why can’t Atlanta? Where is the mayor on this and why no interviews with the mayor and city council?!!!!

Bernard Shakey

May 11th, 2011
10:01 am

@This guy… yeah, 14,200 for that EXHIBITION game at NHL PRICES! Dude, it was an exhibition game with numbers far beyond several struggling teams during REGULAR NHL games… That exhibition game brought in more money than any of your 2 for 1 or 9.99 nights. Watch how quickly NHL moves ATL. NO way they are going to go through this again next year with BOTH ATL and PHX needing an owner. From the cupcake summit in PHX to the Balkan in ATL LOL, yeah, way to NHL seriously. They’re done.

mcrin

May 11th, 2011
10:01 am

Crommers, I’d love to see an EXPANSION team in Winnipeg, great for Winnipeg, great for the game.

I’d also love to see the ASG be the owner and Don Waddell the GM of the new Winnipeg expansion team and let you have a taste of what we experienced here.

This Guy Right Here

May 11th, 2011
10:03 am

Bernard Shakey, you guys love to make excuses for not being able to sell out. Sorry, but the NHL doesn’t want your city.

Bernard Shakey

May 11th, 2011
10:03 am

@jimcee… season tic blitz? Like your save the Thrashers really with reported 25 people! Not happening.

Chris Vivlamore

May 11th, 2011
10:05 am

AtlFlamesFan: I did choose this profession. You are right. A little less dangerous here than in other parts of the world.

Bernard Shakey

May 11th, 2011
10:08 am

@this guy… LOL, yeah, the NHL doesn’t want a BILLIONAIRE owner in their group LOL.. what’s your exscuse with the dress like a seat night at every ATL game and arresting your mascot…lame. oh wait, bad ownership, right? Couldn’t be simply that people in GEORGIA don’t take to hockey.

Alan R.

May 11th, 2011
10:13 am

I’ll give you an example, Chris:

The Atlanta Spirit has been trying to sell the Thrashers in earnest for several years.

Incorrect. They could not sell due to litigation between the current members of the Atlanta Spirit, LLC and estranged member Steve Belkin. There was no clear title to the team, or any other holdings. They could only begin trying to sell the team “in earnest” in December. This information is widely known, yet seldom reported.

What will happen is, national and Canadian news sources will cite this blog posting as fact, and make the same claim as made above. It is incorrect information. A quick perusal of the legal filing the Atlanta Spirit, LLC made against King & Spalding will clearly show my assertion is factual. They could not sell.

Now, what of investors, one might ask? Several reports in the past have indicated that investors were scared away by the ongoing litigation between Snow Belkin and the Seven Morons.

A post by Canada’s Elliotte Friedman yesterday claimed that The Raine Group has been telling prospective buyers of the Thrashers that the arena is better off without a hockey tenant, and they could make more money without the Thrashers. That would be a good story to chase.

I know you know we’re frustrated, Chris, but given the small example I’ve just provided, maybe you can see why we’re frustrated. To those who claim we’re frustrated because we’re not getting what we want to hear, I have one word for you: Bollocks. Don’t sit there and try to discredit us, when we know there is a lot more to the story than is being reported.

One last note: Jeff Schultz informed all of us back in February about the Atlanta Spirit. Those who did not know at the time, quickly found out what a sorry bunch of liars those folks are. Depending on them for factual remarks is unwise, at best.

For folks who want to actually try to save this team, email Gary Bettman. His address can be found on the official Thrashers forums. Make sure everyone you know, and everyone those people know, find out exactly how much we love hockey here. Scream loudly and proudly, and make sure your voices get heard.

Nate

May 11th, 2011
10:14 am

Chris – There’s an old saying that if you don’t having anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. The same should apply to journalists with a twist. If you don’t have anything new to report, don’t report anything at all. All you or Tucker have done is regurgitate the same articles from TSN and Winnipeg Free Press.

Bernard Shakey

May 11th, 2011
10:16 am

The seed of DESIRE TO SELL was there for the Spirit group. Just b/c they couldn’t at that time does not mean they did’nt want to. They have alwasys wanted to sell. Al Strachon reported this December of 2009 “TNSE is putting the finishing touches on the purchase of ATL”… and then the Bankruptcy in PHX happened and stalled the whole process…

Chris Vivlamore

May 11th, 2011
10:21 am

Alan R.: Yes, the Spirit had to wait until they had free and clear ownership before they could sell. That is true. That didn’t occur until the Belkin situation was resolved. However, they’ve had the Raine Group looking for potential buyers – and investors for that matter – for almost three years. That’s why I say they have been trying to sell the team in earnest.

chaz

May 11th, 2011
10:22 am

@ This Guy,

Whats your excuse then for not selling out? Would Atlanta have sold out an exhibition between Chicago and Tampa? Doubt it. Cause they’re not YOUR teams! The exhibition each year is like a slap in the face to any Winnipeg NHL fan. I’ll be signing up for seasons as soon as im able to, but i wont go see the NHL’s patronizing exhibition. I was a Jets fan, still am, and want a home team to cheer for.

Alan R.

May 11th, 2011
10:24 am

However, Chris, it’s a stretch at best. It also doesn’t address the reports that investors – including Dominique Wilkins – were scared off due to the litigation that was in progress.

How would you feel if you invested money, only to find out it went towards court costs?

Chris Vivlamore

May 11th, 2011
10:24 am

Nate: What is not new about the resolution in Phoenix? And how that applies to the Thrashers?

Chris Vivlamore

May 11th, 2011
10:27 am

Alan R.: You are absolutely correct. That was an issue. A big one. That’s why this has moved so fast one the Belkin issue was resolved. Also, I don’t report that the team has been for sale since the Spirit bought the franchises, as stated in their court documents. I understand saying that has more to do with the litigation than the fact – and why Jeff Schultz took them to task.

I feel better by having a dialogue about this. I hope you do to.

Food for thought

May 11th, 2011
10:27 am

Chris

You’re right when you say the ASG is wealthy enough to cover losses.
The reality they produced ac

Alan R.

May 11th, 2011
10:27 am

Lastly, I’m sure I’m not the only one interested in what the Raine Group has to say about this:

4) Interesting: Word is The Raine Group, which is handling the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers for Atlanta Spirit LLC, is telling prospective buyers the team can be moved because having those dates available for other events (ie. concerts) is a better financial option than hockey. Neither a phone call nor a follow-up email were returned by 10 p.m. ET Monday.

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/blogs/elliottefriedman/2011/05/keefe-has-coaching-chops-plus-30-thoughts.html

Chris Vivlamore

May 11th, 2011
10:30 am

Alan R: Also, I have to do my own reporting. I can’t just take that report as fact. I have to follow up on it. I, too, am waiting for return calls.

This Guy Right Here

May 11th, 2011
10:32 am

chaz, the difference is that Thrashers fans don’t claim their entire city is made up of NHL fans that will sell out every game. Of course a pre-season game between Chi and Tampa wouldn’t sell out in Atlanta when we can’t even sell-out our regular season games. Don’t make such a silly comparison.

Alan R.

May 11th, 2011
10:33 am

Another thing that would be really nice? Get these slimeball owners on the record. Ask Gearon and Levenson straight up if they’re talking to people in Winnipeg. All many of us have heard, rumor wise, is that a deal is already done. Is a deal done? Is this team really moving to Winnipeg?

We’re tired of the lies. All we heard for the years they were litigating is that the team was in no danger of being moved. Everyone from Gearon to Levenson to Ben Wright assured us of this. Now, all of the sudden, it’s an “urgent” matter? Something smells awful in those statements, but no one is getting to the bottom of this.

Chris Vivlamore

May 11th, 2011
10:37 am

Alan R.: Rest assured, although we have had Gearon and Levenson on the record – those efforts are ongoing. Especially now with Phoenix settled.You are correct about your ‘urgent’ issue. I brought that up in my previous blog. It could conceivably be that three months after that statement the team is gone.

This Guy Right Here

May 11th, 2011
10:43 am

Chris Vivlamore, several franchises recently could have conceivably been relocated, but the NHL fought to keep them in place. Is there any reason that you know of why I shouldn’t expect the NHL to fight to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta?

Chris Vivlamore

May 11th, 2011
10:47 am

This Guy Right Here: I thought the same thing. Certainly the league would want – and work as they did in Phoenix – to keep the team in Atlanta. That may still be the case now that the Coyote situation is settled. I don’t know the reason they would not do it. I can only tell you there is disappointment that it hasn’t happened yet.

[...] Journal Constitution:  Arizona votes to keep Coyotes for another year.  Not the news fans of Atlanta wanted to hear.  Now they can expect a lot more attention [...]

Alan R.

May 11th, 2011
10:48 am

I really don’t mean to hammer so hard, Chris. I guess I just expected something a bit more hard-hitting when I popped this open this morning. I know they’re “on the record” in a manner of speaking, but no one is throwing tough questions at them. Kincade did, on the radio, but Gearon dodged them as if he was playing a game of Frogger.

“Have you talked to anyone from Winnipeg?” It’s a tough question, but such an easy one for them to answer. Yes, or no? We’re tired of being screwed around by these owners.

Knowing is half the battle, but I feel like this is more of the blind leading the blind. None of us truly know what’s going on, and the folks we’re depending on aren’t helping much. I know this sort of stuff takes time (there’s a reason why I’m not a journalist, after all), but a lot of us also feel like these guys have one foot out of the door already.

GoCoyotes

May 11th, 2011
10:52 am

Thrasher Fans – It sounds like you hear the same crap that we Coyotes fans hear about; no fan base, the team has to practically give away tickets, etc. Most of those comments come from people who don’t attend the games. I’ve been to a Thrashers game when I was on business in Atlanta and there is a big, loud, fan base there, as there is here in Phoenix. I feel your pain, believe me. Don’t listen to the trolls, just hope that the powers that have the control can find a way to keep your team. We’ve been lucky enough to buy another year to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix. I wish you the same luck. There’s nothing worse than ripping a team away from the loyal fans.

Chris Vivlamore

May 11th, 2011
10:54 am

Alan R: And they may have one foot out door already. Trust me when I tell you I asked both owners – and others – all the tough questions too. Much tougher than Kincade. Remember who broke that story. I spoke to Gearon for two and a half hours – not 15 minutes. The owners simply can’t answer that question. They can’t talk about another team or city like that. ‘That is a question for the NHL’ would be the response.

I hope this helps.

BigMomma

May 11th, 2011
10:56 am

Chris, could you find out what the Thrashers’ season ticket renewal situation is right now, along with number of new season ticket plans sold?

There has not been much of a campaign yet, but when we purchased our first ever season ticket package at the February Select-a-Seat event, our rep said that purchases were higher than they expected but I don’t know if he was talking only Thrashers or overall. It would be nice to hear some actual numbers.

AtlFlamesFan

May 11th, 2011
11:02 am

Does anyone know Mr. Bettmen’s email address?

Mark

May 11th, 2011
11:04 am

Why, when the NHL has worked so hard to keep other teams in their home city, does everyone think the NHL is just going to allow the Thrashers to move out of town. Atlanta is a top 10 US Market. It would be hugely embarrassing to the NHL for Atlanta to lose a team TWICE. I seriously do not think they will let it happen. And, if it does happen, it won’t be until after all other options are exhausted. The NHL fought to keep Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Nashville in Nashville, Phoenix in Phoenix. They will fight to keep Atlanta in Atlanta.

Bluelander

May 11th, 2011
11:10 am

Chris: I have enjoyed your reporting on the team all year long. When the news it not good, trust me you are the last person I would blame or take it out on.

Now that Phoenix is off the front burner I would like to see you press the ASG on who they dealing with and why they wanted to unload the hockey franchise from the instant they bought all 3 properties. I would also like them pressed on whether they feel they are at least partially to blame for the situation they find themselves in now. All we hear is them insinuate that the fans don’t support the team and that the situation is dire (as though that is going to somehow influence someone to appear with $150M). and that maybe the market can’t support the sport. I’d also like some digging on these folks that are apparently out there and would keep the team here. There are other rumors (not just from Kincade..check out NHL wiki) that say one group is close to signing an exclusive negotiating period. What about following that lead? Lastly, I don’t recall seeing this from you but as someone who has been in Atlanta and presumably in the rinks around town…what about an article about why Atlanta can support a team. Make a case for it. What do the players say about playing in Atlanta?

hop

May 11th, 2011
11:11 am

The only way Hockey can make it in Atlanta is to move the club outside of I-285 where vast majority of Hockey fans reside.

Few fans desire to fight the traffic to go Downtown to pay huge parking fees when the Gwinnett Hockey team does not charge for parking.
the Team needs to be closer to its fan base which will never happen because of the politics involved in having all teams located downtown.

Alan R.

May 11th, 2011
11:14 am

Kincade also asked Gearon if the arena would be impaired, to which Gearon responded affirmatively.

It helps a little, Chris. The “in the dark” feeling isn’t helpful, though. I understand you’re doing what you can, but we’re all very fearful of the future of this franchise — whether or not the postings from the Forbes Sports Money blog is accurate..

Crommers

May 11th, 2011
11:26 am

Winnipeg can support a team. I was only a kid when they left, and can financially support them now. Comparing my parents generation to now is silly. They blew it and as a kid, what could i do? Our arena is just fine for hockey and i will gladly pay top dollar now for season tickets. we will not make the same mistake our parents did, rest assured NHL hockey will have no problem succeeding in Winnipeg.
But thats all besides the point, this league is suffering right now and needs to get back on its feet. Phoenix, Atlanta, Florida, unfortunately in NJ and NYI, and now Columbus are losing a lot of money right now. The issue clearly isnt the fans on this site, but the remainder of “potential” fans that have to come out. These fans need to support these teams. At some point we need to stop looking at “potential” and look at reality. For the sake of the league.

oh, bettmans email: FNuptheNHL@gmail.com

Joe Friday

May 11th, 2011
11:30 am

ahh, the blog monster ate my post, can you free it up, Chris?

William Satterwhite

May 11th, 2011
11:32 am

“The search does continue for a local buyer with at least two groups expressing interest in keeping the team here. However talks have not moved past the preliminary stage.”

Is there any indication as to just why this is the case? I understand the obvious answer is that the prospective buyers haven’t moved things forward but is it completely outside of the realm of possibility that ASG has held things up on their end in order to wait and see how much they can get from Winnipeg?

I realize it takes a while to put a big business deal together but if ASG has been seeking out buyers for at least three years and actively working with prospective buyers since February, it seems things should have moved at least past the “preliminary stage” by now with someone if the goal really is to keep the team in town and not simply sell to the highest bidder (who of course was already spoken for until yesterday). It all just seems too oddly convenient that no deals to keep the team in Atlanta have moved forward beyond the “preliminary stage” that continues to get thrown out there. What does “preliminary stage” actually cover anyway?

chaz

May 11th, 2011
11:45 am

This Guy,

Your right, it is silly, but I was only trying to point out the obvious. I realize there are lots of foolish posters out there making stupid claims like Winnipeg is the best! or something idiotic; I just don’t think any preseason exhibition game between two away teams is any kind of accurate or fair guage of fan interest in Winnipeg.

Chinda

May 11th, 2011
11:47 am

Why does taxpayer money are used. If the player want to play in arizona why dont they used they own money to cover the loss most of then have millions in the bank. Why don’t they save they own job. Regular joe is tire of paying for everything

Joe McGrath

May 11th, 2011
11:59 am

C Viv. You’re doing a good job. Keep it up. Here’s some story ideas. Write something about Glavine’s efforts so far. Investigate Kincade’s claim. Procure a Bettman interview and tell them you are going to ask him questions submitted to you directly from Thrasher’s fans. If the questions are from us, then it doesn’t downgrade your professionalism to ask leading questions and “what if” questions.

KLS1

May 11th, 2011
11:59 am

ASG needs a little tough love from Bettman.

The real issue is that no potential owner wants to get in bed with these ASG clowns because they will still have the operating rights to the building. Would you go into business with these guys?

If we could get someone to step up and buy the Hawks/Thrashers/Philips arena I would be hopeful. But I just don’t see anyone buying all or part of a team that is still tied to the seven mental midgets that have already run all 3 teams and what was once a atate of the art arena into the ground.

Hope like hell I am wrong.

PS: Leave Chris alone, he is doing his job just fine.

This Guy Right Here

May 11th, 2011
12:02 pm

chaz, to be honest, I don’t think it’s an accurate way to gauge potential NHL support either. I was just trying to “troll the troll” if you know what I mean. Personally, I think Winnipeg would do well with an NHL team (And I think the 8000+ average attendance for the Moose is testament to that – 2nd most in the AHL.) I just want them to keep their hands off of my team.

52,53,54 Bossy's record is no more!

May 11th, 2011
12:04 pm

The NHL doesn’t give one lick about the actual fans showing up at games, they just want owners who will blindly follow M.Bison Bettman and his visions of being one of “the big 4″ leagues. From what I read Atlanta Spirit has brought a lot of grief to Thrashers fans, but look to the ones who let them into the league in the first place. I’m as big of a hockey fan as there is, but the reality is the NHL is bush league. Bettman and his toy Daly and sheep owners are leading down a dangerous path. And to CHRIS V., I for one have thought your reporting on this has been great. As Lawless has probably told you, he gets ripped daily by the folks here in Winnipeg for either using too many “if’s” and “maybes”…when in reality people are just upset because they aren’t getting what they want to hear.

Chris Vivlamore

May 11th, 2011
12:05 pm

Joe McGrath: I have investigated the claim made by the local radio personality. I stand by my reporting. The chances of the purchase of all three entities from the Atlanta Spirit remain “one in a million.”

BLUELANDbeliever

May 11th, 2011
12:07 pm

A: Will people PLEASE leave C-Viv alone? The man is doing his job for gosh sakes! Its not like he is some guy pulling strings to tick yall off so stop being 4 year olds and taking out your temper tantrums on other people.

B: The fact of the matter is, AS LLC is NOT doing a single favor for anybody. They are sniveling little cheapskates who solely want to own something to say they own it. The problem is that they have run the team and franchise into the ground so far that they cant turn a penny profit in the business world.

C: *ATLANTA GET YOUR BUTTS TO PHILIPS ARENA NEXT SEASON. DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED BY THESE SNOBS OR STUPID CANUCKS. IF YOU CARE ABOUT THIS TEAM YOU WILL SHOW YOUR PASSION IN THE STANDS AND NOT FROM YOUR COUCH*

[...] Post By Google News Click Here For The Entire Article May 11th, 2011 | Category: [...]

William Satterwhite

May 11th, 2011
12:11 pm

Chris V: regarding ASG not selling the whole package, is that because an interested buyer of all three entities doesn’t actually exist or is it because ASG has completely ruled out the possibility of selling all three no matter what?

Brendan

May 11th, 2011
12:16 pm

I’d love to read a quote from Commissioner Bettman that reads, “We will do everything in our power to prevent the relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers franchise.” How hard is that, for a Commissioner to say? I think he’s said something to the effect of, “We don’t consider relocations lightly or foolheartedly. To my knowledge, there are no immediate plans to relocate the Thrashers next season.” That’s not an exact quote, by any stretch. It’s just the usual, vagueness that we get out of the league offices.

I think what we, the readers of the Vivlamore blog, hope to avoid is the ambiguity of the situation. But, maybe, at this juncture, there isn’t anything but murkiness and uncertainty. No matter what happens, trolls from Manitoba are going to be here. And the only thing that might silence them … is the Commissioner making a statement like, “I, Commissioner Bettman, will NEVER ALLOW an NHL team in Winnipeg, on my Watch.” I don’t think we should hold our breath for that. And even if he did say something to this effect, the Winnipeg fans will still say, “Oh yeah! Wanna bet! Can the Commissioner be so blind to the sales price???” Nothing will dash their hopes. For them, every day is Christmas morning, and they’re just waiting to see what Santa Claus has brought them. And if you suggest that Santa Claus isn’t coming, their response will be, “I’ll tell you what he brought in the morning.”

Chris Vivlamore and Tim Tucker have to report on this story. They cannot simply choose not to cover it. Imagine, “What’s the response in the Atlanta paper?” Answer: “Nothing. They’re not covering the story.” That’d be absurd. Hopefully, something concrete will come out in the next 7-10 days. I cannot believe, for one second, that the 2011-12 season will be played anywhere but Atlanta. It’s the 2012-13 season that is in doubt.

Do we have any quotes from the season ticket representatives? The one I spoke with at the Penguins game, on April 10, 2011, said, and I quote, “The NHL deadline for filing a relocation request was January 1, 2011. That date passed, with no request being filed. So, yes, we will have hockey at Blueland next Fall.” I never asked, “What about refunds?” Or “What if I want to buy season tickets for the 2012-13 season? Is that an option? And what about refunds?”

I’m not a journalist. I’m just a hockey enthusiast. And, really, what’s a ticket rep going to say, other than to regurgitate what an owner has instructed them to say. Still, a quote is a quote. At least let them say “refunds will be given, if the team relocates.” Wouldn’t a statement like that help them sell tickets?

The Balkan

May 11th, 2011
12:20 pm

I”ll buy all three TODAY only if you idiots promise to stop yelling “KNIGHTS” during the National Anthem!!

Over it all

May 11th, 2011
12:27 pm

If Bettman and the NHL let ASG “win” and relocate this team, at least I know I will save money for not re-upping the NHL package or tickets. I will be done with the sport for good. I’ll make sure I will discourage as many people from it as possible.Will it matter? Of course not, but it will make me feel better.

Batcork

May 11th, 2011
12:27 pm

Regarding the Raine Group’s alleged statement to prospective bidders that the arena is better off without with a hockey tenant….
a) It’s ludicrous (in my opinion)
b) It’s a classic tactic to steer away low-ball offers that would be a waste of time fheir client
c) It’s not a blanket conclusion you can even reach in a vacuum without weighing the terms of the tenancy, i.e. rent, parking & concessions revenue sharing, operating cost sharing, etc.

XCnuck

May 11th, 2011
12:29 pm

Fans, remember, this guy’s job is to get attention, and sometimes the best way to do so is a big, heaping, nasty pile of NEGATIVITY.

The AJC should be supporting the team and not giving in to the Canadian media that has conjured up these rumors of moving. A Canadian reading this article would say: “even they know their city sucks for hockey! they don’t deserve a team!”

Smarten up, “Viv”

Stick'em

May 11th, 2011
12:30 pm

We need to get Blank to buy the team…beg him if we have to. Atlanta needs hockey and we have supported this team very well.

too many on the ICE

May 11th, 2011
12:35 pm

Does this mean “Select a Seat” will be cancelled?

too many on the ICE

May 11th, 2011
12:38 pm

Select a Seat in Winnipeg was just announced May 21st relocated from Philipps Arena.

too many on the ICE

May 11th, 2011
12:41 pm

How about five questions with the zamboni driver?

Smoothie

May 11th, 2011
12:56 pm

THIS –> “Now that Phoenix is off the front burner I would like to see you press the ASG on who they dealing with and why they wanted to unload the hockey franchise from the instant they bought all 3 properties. I would also like them pressed on whether they feel they are at least partially to blame for the situation they find themselves in now. All we hear is them insinuate that the fans don’t support the team and that the situation is dire (as though that is going to somehow influence someone to appear with $150M). and that maybe the market can’t support the sport. I’d also like some digging on these folks that are apparently out there and would keep the team here.”

These are the questions which beg to be asked. And if they’ve been asked, they need to be taken to task for evading these questions. And why is the Rainge Group advising prospective buyers that arena operations would actually be better off without hockey and that it would not be a problem losing those 44 dates? That’s not their job to make a potential investor’s decision for them. Investors looking to buy should have their own advisory team in place…let them do their due diligence without trying to dissuade them. If true, that just smacks of duplicitous intent to undermine the mission of trying to sell the team. I can’t imagine Gary Bettman would be very pleased to learn of such a tactic being employed. He certainly didn’t like it when Balsille tried to circumvent the league’s by-laws on two different occasions.

Brendan

May 11th, 2011
1:02 pm

Jim Ballsillie has all the money in the world. He could probably buy Europe, if it were for sale. Is there a hockey in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Yes or no?

Joe Friday

May 11th, 2011
1:05 pm

“I have investigated the claim made by the local radio personality. I stand by my reporting. The chances of the purchase of all three entities from the Atlanta Spirit remain “one in a million.””

I believe you. Kincade is never right, even a broken clock gets something right once in a while . . . these guys want to sell the hockey team, not all three, they make money off the Hawks and the Arena, and they lose less by letting the Thrashers move than they do letting the arena sit empty. Blue Jackets just announced they expect to lose $25 million next year. Do the math, they lose less with an empty arena.

Now free up my blog post, Chris, I had your back and the blog filter ate it up!

mcrin

May 11th, 2011
1:08 pm

“For them, every day is Christmas morning”

Hopefully it turns into Groundhog Day…the Bill Murray variety

Lamar

May 11th, 2011
1:11 pm

Please move the Florida Panthers before the Thrashers. Its clear Miami doesn’t support them. Move them to Winnipeg.

Allegra

May 11th, 2011
1:20 pm

The Thrashers have a good team. If you look at their results for the first half of the they were doing very well. But as the rumors of a possible move become more wide spread results slipped and for those who say players shouldn’t be affected need to have their heads examined. If people really want the Thrashers to stay why not take a page out of the Sacramento Kings fans book.

Mark

May 11th, 2011
1:22 pm

Hamilton is a suburb of Toronto. The Toronto Maple Leafs will not let a team move into their back yard.

KLS1

May 11th, 2011
1:24 pm

For $160M it may be cheaper to move all the fans from Winnepeg to Atlanta…that would be a win-win.

Bluelander

May 11th, 2011
1:26 pm

Refman

May 11th, 2011
1:47 pm

The Atlanta Knights did quite well here thank you! And it was due to a creative and very active ownership and GM and Marketing department. Ever hear the”Knights!” retort during the national Anthem? It goes to the point that Atlanta HAS rabid fans, but they are tired of Waddell and his useless airbag associates making empty promises awhile diluting the team roster year after year and putting a sub par product on the ic…If The Thrashers were a restaurant I would have had my last meal there about 7 yrs ago.

Thrashers27

May 11th, 2011
1:48 pm

C Viv, you’re doing a fine job. I’ve been a journalist for a long time myself and there will always be those readers/viewers who believe there is something more to a story than you’ve reported. That’s how all of the 9-11 conspiracy theories are perpetuated. Keep up the good work. You can only report what you are told from reliable sources…Only trouble with that is, I wouldn’t rely on anything Gearon, or any of the other octomonkeys have to say. They’ve not been honest with us from the get go, so they can all go take a flying leap.

JMT21

May 11th, 2011
1:51 pm

I believe that discussions with any potential local owners hasn’t passed the preliminary stage is because the asking price for the Thrashers remains up in the air.

We’ve heard the 110M figure as the asking price to keep the team local. If the rumors are true the guys in Winnipeg are offering 170M. 110M would go to ASG with 60M going to the league as a relocation fee. This 60M would help offset the losses the NHL is taking by keeping the Coyotes in the desert.

Aardvark Base

May 11th, 2011
2:04 pm

C-Viv– This morning on 680, Kincade claimed that a local reporter from the AJC was on-air with a Winnipeg radio show. The Winnipeg guy claimed that Kincade said the Thrashers were going to Winnipeg, and the AJC guy said nothing to refute it. Was it you? Wouldn’t that be fanning the flames a bit? I think Kincade is actually saying the opposite, that there are buyers in the background/secret that are going to come forward when the time is right. Like now, since the Phoenix situation is resolved. So was it you on the radio with Winnipeg?

too many on the ICE

May 11th, 2011
2:15 pm

Atlanta Spirit want a lot for a turd. They are trying to make up for their losses – the only person to “overpay” for the turd is a dumb Canadian.

EMerckx69

May 11th, 2011
2:15 pm

@Stick’em – “We need to get Blank to buy the team…beg him if we have to. Atlanta needs hockey and we have supported this team very well.”

The NFL has strong ownership restrictions. The NFL forbids its majority owners from owning any sports teams (except for soccer teams and Arena Football League teams). Although I have heard different reports on about this, I’m not sure if they can’t own any other sports teams or if they can’t own any other sports teams in other NFL cities.

If Blank did buy the Thrashers there are two things I know that would happen. First there would be a significant increase in ticket prices and then the Thrashers would become a team that contends every year. In 8 years Blank has increased ticket prices over 100%. Even his cheapest $100 season tickets that were introduced in 2003 have increased 250%

Chris Vivlamore

May 11th, 2011
2:19 pm

Aardvark Base: Yes. It was me on the radio in Winnipeg at the time. The host told me of what was to have been said about the Thrashers moving. I, obviously, had not heard them. It’s not that I said nothing to refute it. It came at the end of an interview where I had said many times the situation is still up in the air.

Jason

May 11th, 2011
2:22 pm

When I see the “Leave C-Viv Alone!” comments, all I can think of is this…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHmvkRoEowc

Brendan

May 11th, 2011
2:23 pm

Can a season ticket holder please call their rep today, and ask about the 2012-13 season? I’m just curious as to their response.

EMerckx69

May 11th, 2011
2:36 pm

The only way Hockey can make it in Atlanta is to move the club outside of I-285 where vast majority of Hockey fans reside.

@hop – Few fans desire to fight the traffic to go Downtown to pay huge parking fees when the Gwinnett Hockey team does not charge for parking.
the Team needs to be closer to its fan base which will never happen because of the politics involved in having all teams located downtown.

True the Thrashers arena needs to be on the nothside of town. Atlanta now has 5 seperate ice rinks on the northside that are within 35 miles of each other. With 7 sheets of ice between the rinks including the ICE facility that opened less than a year ago, I hear that there is still a need for more ice. You have people driving 60+ miles away from Athens to play hoceky in Atlanta and they are Thrashers season ticketholders. All the youth leagues are on the northside of town and most of the people don’t work downtown. I love Philips Arena, but a winning team and an arena closer to the other rinks would be great.

Hockey Biltong

May 11th, 2011
2:38 pm

Jason, that was awesome!!How on earth did you come across this?lmfao….

East Point Bob

May 11th, 2011
2:39 pm

Look folks,chris vivlamore is a joke. He has been and is being used by asg as their little bitch to go out and say what they want, when they want. Think back people, he has never never never asked tough, hard hitting questions, to which true answers would have had to be given. All he has done has been their little mouthpiece to give out what, they wanted, not the truth. He is likely on their payroll as well. Does anybody remember him asking Waddell any serious meaningful questions,
they type Waddell could never answer, because he is such a liar ? No, he asks very soft, easy to answer questions, a baby could answer. If there is anyone out there who thinks he is not asg’s little bitch, speak now or forever hold your peace. He is the worst hockey writer I have ever seen and if the team moves, I hope he does too. Too bad Jeff Schultz is not covering the team, he takes no crap off no owners !

Hockey Biltong

May 11th, 2011
2:40 pm

EPB – tell us how you really feel! Jeff Schultz? Really?

too many on the ICE

May 11th, 2011
2:44 pm

vivlamore is a little asg “bitch” – LOL that was good.

Chris Vivlamore

May 11th, 2011
2:49 pm

Jason: Too bad you couldn’t insert my name for hers. THAT would be awesome.

Sage of Bluesland

May 11th, 2011
2:51 pm

“…I spoke to Gearon for two and a half hours – not 15 minutes. The owners simply can’t answer that question. They can’t talk about another team or city like that. ‘That is a question for the NHL’ would be the response. I hope this helps.”

I think I can read between those lines rather well.

I just hope Don Waddell moves with the team. The thought of that imbecilic fraud still enjoying what ‘my’ city offers makes me very, very angry.

It has all been a fraud from day-one. Yet, some of you still put hard-earned dollars into their completely undeserving pockets?! I cannot fathom the depths of such idiocy.

I trust Vivlamore one heck of a lot more than that blowhard Kincade. If I want to listen to a self-righteous, pompous, jack@$$, I know what station to tune to during that time-slot….but, as you would imagine, I don’t subsidize his incompetence (either).

(It’s funny, a couple of months ago, a friend informed me that during one of his daily diatribes, he blamed ‘me’ for the loss of the Thrashers…and my attitude concerning the lack of support! Yeah, it was MY fault…Ownership or management incompetence has absolutely NOTHING to do with the lack of interest which is leading to the impending move?! Sure, OK.)

Smoothie

May 11th, 2011
2:57 pm

Joe Friday et al – sorry to break it to you, but Kincade is on to this story whether you like him or not:

Jay Clemons of Sports Illustrated just tweeted this comment: “The Balkan is real, always has been. It’s a shame NO ONE ever asked the right sources.”

Just as Kincade said weeks ago, there is one national writer who is also familiar with the Balkan and knows his identity.

It is my belief that ASG is purposely feeding C-Viv a line of bull as they’ve always done; afterall it is how they operate. Meanwhile, something IS going on behind the scenes. The big question is WILL THE ASG PART WITH ALL 3 PROPERTIES? Or will they obfuscate and try to unload the Thrashers only to the *only* bidder willng to buy just the Thrashers (True North that is). No smart businessman(men) in his/their right minds would enter into an arrangement with ASG to own only the Thrashers without a half share of ops rights and revenues. Period.

too many on the ICE

May 11th, 2011
3:05 pm

Who is the “the Balkan”? CViv, care to comment on that?

Nate

May 11th, 2011
3:16 pm

Nate: What is not new about the resolution in Phoenix? And how that applies to the Thrashers?

Chris – Because that is the same crap that has been reported on other sites for weeks now. That whole voting process was a mere formality. And again, it’s still PHOENIX. It has nothing to do with Atlanta until Bettman or another higher up in the league office says it does. Your report is pure speculation about any ties between Phoenix, Atlanta, and Winnipeg’s situation. Any Thrashers fan on here already knows the bs coming out of the Canada media. We don’t care to hear the same crap from you. We expect better and NEW information.

The Canadian Media is the only source saying the Phoenix/Winnipeg situation is tied to Atlanta. I have not seen the league office say anything like that. That’s what’s wrong with your article IMO.

Frontman

May 11th, 2011
3:22 pm

The good news: the Hawks lost last night. Please continue to join me in wishing only pain and suffering to them. Let’s hope for a 40-pojnt blowout loss at home tomorrow to end their season and actually hurt the ASG in the worst possible way – basketball is the only thing they care about anyway.
B@st@rds…

too many on the ICE

May 11th, 2011
3:22 pm

Also, how can you talk to Gearon for 2.5 hours and not get anything of substance out of him?

Tom Lysiak

May 11th, 2011
3:23 pm

This team will only be saved by the intervention of the league. You can claim all day that you want the team to remain here and are working toward that goal, but why would you believe that with their track record? If they are determined to hold on to the arena and the Hawks and sell the Thrash to another entity, under the terms they demand, or allow them to move, which do you think will happen? They could work out satisfactory terms of leasing by following other similar arrangements if they wanted to. When someone writes that the firm they have retained is telling interested parties that the team can be moved, if that is true, that is the worst possible sign. Seems too easy for them to divest themselves of their stepchild for a huge profit (on their purchase price) and start filling empty dates on the calendar….unless the league steps in and does something. You also have the problem of another league and it’s interests and they could clash. I don’t see how the frat boys can be forced to sell both teams and the building. This smells like 1980 all over again. The Balkan better be real.

Frontman

May 11th, 2011
3:26 pm

too many,
Because Gearon doesn’t give a sh!t about hockey. He’s a complete tool.

too many on the ICE

May 11th, 2011
3:32 pm

Don Wad told us repeatedly during the Thrasher Town Hall meetings over the last 6 yrs (that I was a ticket holder) that the Thrashers were not going to move.

He is either (1) a liar, (2) an idiot, or (3) both. What is your vote?

EA

May 11th, 2011
3:35 pm

So many of you have said it, the league knows the deal with this ownership group. Atlanta fans deserve a chance to have a hockey team with an ownership group behind it that wants to achieve success. Bettman has a big hand in this situation. All speculation can be put to rest when he informs us about the situation.

Winnipeg Jet

May 11th, 2011
3:37 pm

Sorry I’m late. Did I miss anything?

Darkhorse

May 11th, 2011
3:42 pm

@Winnipeg Jet-Nope, you’re still without a team and we are still without real owners.

Winnipeg Jet

May 11th, 2011
3:45 pm

It could stay that way for a long time Darkhorse.

R. Stroz

May 11th, 2011
3:55 pm

JPVJ

May 11th, 2011
4:07 pm

Does anyone know the guy that would walk around with a tin foiled Stanley Cup through the aisles ?? Does anyone know him ?? What does he have to say ??? Tell him to break his silence and join the cause !!!

JPVJ

May 11th, 2011
4:12 pm

Vive la feuille d’étain !!!!

Winnipeg Wisdom

May 11th, 2011
4:38 pm

Obviously with my name you know where I am from. I attended Jets games in all but one year they were in the NHL.

The facts regarding Winnipeg is that the team may be a success at the gate for the first two or three seasons. But if the team is a standings bottom feeder attendence will be the same as it currently is in the US markets which are mentioned.

I have experienced my teams moving to other cities and felt the pain. For you hockey fans in Atlanta I wish you the best in saving your team. And I agree, Bettman should match the efforts he performed in Phoenix for your city.

too many on the ICE

May 11th, 2011
5:35 pm

Winnipeg Wisdom: if the same roster transfers up to Winnipeg you will not make the playoffs. All they do is make excuses. I am getting sick of watching their lack of skill. You can have them.

WTF?

May 11th, 2011
6:00 pm

Hockey would work in Atlanta if they could mix in some redneck activities or ghetto activities to bring people to watch a game. If a sport doesn’t involve a ball or an engine it just won’t be popular in Atlanta. That’s the sad truth. That’s why only a fool would buy season tickets right now. Maybe if the tickets came with roundtrip airfare to Canada for each home game with the Winnipeg Thrashers and the price was right! It will be a sad day in Atlanta when they move the team

sisu

May 11th, 2011
6:38 pm

lot’s of opinion little certainty…time will tell. I hope the team is here for years to come.

So for those in gwinnett, would you drive to cobb to see a game? Probably not…silly how many people think the teams should be in their back yard but if it is somewhere else then it is too far.

Brendan

May 11th, 2011
6:38 pm

To quote Britney Spears, “3.”

Northern Man Hockey's in the Blood

May 11th, 2011
7:04 pm

Simply watching a Thrashers game shown on T.V. shows the support for the hockey team is next to nothing. Seats are always empty and you get what 5,000 PAID fans a game .How many seats are given away in hopes that they buy $20-$30 bucks in food and drinks. Give them to Winnipeg already……..SAVE YOUR MONEY ie: TAX $$$$$

Cordell

May 11th, 2011
7:41 pm

I am from Winnipeg and I feel for you guys because we went through the same thing. I heard these same arguments when Winnipeg lost their team.It is not the fan base or the market that makes a difference, it is the businessmen running the franchise. We had people who didn’t know how to run a hockey team and were losing too much money. I don’t know about the Atlanta situation but it sounds the same.
The NHL is a marketable product and there appears to be enough people in Atlanta who would support it but the owner of the team doesn’t know how to make that work so he wants out. No one can be found in Atlanta to buy the team from him. We had the same problem 15 years ago in Winnipeg. Things have changed in Winnipeg and now there is someone who can make it work, but if it wasn’t Winnipeg it would have been somewhere else.
I know exactly what you are going though

B. Thenet

May 11th, 2011
9:17 pm

When the NHL’s Bill Daly is done chasing around crazy old men that show up to Glendale City Council meetings in hopes he can close a deal for the Yotes, perhaps you can ask him where the NHL’s dogged defense of a Thrashers franchise that was far worse on ice than the Yotes with better attendance and lost less money.

Brian west palm beach

May 11th, 2011
10:00 pm

I have been gone from atlanta for 2 years the hardest part has been watching from south fl with center ice. I used to bring 10 people to every game i went to. I had to leave atlanta because jobs were not available. Its tough up there i know people who still have not found work after 2 years since housing market collapse, so hockey was not a priority. Now things are starting to look better. My plan is to be back by Christmas. My rowdy redneck friends will be with me and yes if sport an oppositions jersey be ready to move you might get beer poured on you. 2011-12 season here we come and if you wear a jets jersey to our games lets hope you can defend yourself.

AtlFlamesFan

May 11th, 2011
10:06 pm

litz

May 11th, 2011
10:50 pm

Eklund does not exactly have the world’s best track record on such things …

R. Stroz

May 11th, 2011
11:14 pm

If the team is moved, the ASG owners better be prepared for a really revealing present.

Pete Puck

May 11th, 2011
11:36 pm

How could so may people scew up so badly that the Thrashers are possibly leaving town….Don Waddell, “Blueland” marketing tag, all those eastern european players whose names are difficult to pronounce; poor franchise name and logo — what exactly is the team’s primary uniform color?; refusal to keep expensive talent; 0-4 playoff record over 11 seasons…..the list drones on and on. In the end, they have become a souless franchise that’s nearly impossible to connect with at any emotional level as a fan; and finally an ownership group that is one of the worst in the history of professional sports.
Atlanta deserves a viable NHL franchise, but the clowns from the Trahsers administrative team will never deliver viability. After a decade of lowering expectations, I’m ready to wish them fairwell. I don’t know if we will ever receive another nhl frachise, but I’d rather go without nhl in atl over tyring to bond to the this very unlovable organization . Please leave town as soon as possible.

Disgusted Fan

May 11th, 2011
11:52 pm

Don f*cking Waddell (he alone has screwed this franchise into the grave) and the Atlanta Spirit clown posse are fixing to bend Atlanta over along with Gary Bettman, one disengenuos sorry *ss piece of detritus. This is just incredible. Hockey failing in Phoenix and the league is going to allow the clown posse to sell and have the team moved in order to fund the failure in the desert. Classic, just classic.

Jason

May 11th, 2011
11:58 pm

Anyone else thinking of buying a ticket to the Hawks game (from a scalper) and throwing a Thrashers jersey on the court?

Crazy Diamond

May 12th, 2011
2:10 am

We are so screwed.

AtlFlamesFan

May 12th, 2011
4:38 am

Hey Jason, While you are at it, throw a beer in Gearon’s face.

AtlFlamesFan

May 12th, 2011
5:10 am

Why Bettmen would abandon Atlanta after working so hard to save Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Nashville, Raleigh, and Florida does not make sense. The only explanation I could think of is his ego. He has gone out on a limb trying to save Phoenix, a market that has never worked. In order to cover his @ss and the losses incurred by the NHL, he is sacrificing Atlanta in order to get the $60M transfer fee. May the b@stard burn he h#ll with ASG.

KLS1

May 12th, 2011
7:16 am

Enter your comments here

KLS1

May 12th, 2011
7:21 am

I am starting to get pissed…these asg guys are beyond scum. I hope the NBA goes on strike and they are all living in an empty arena with no hot water this time next year.

Swede

May 12th, 2011
7:26 am

Just too sad if they leave because of IDIOT owners and a don waddell. That´s just how it is. They have ruined this, and it´s all their fault. WHY cant bettman see it???????????????????

WTF?

May 12th, 2011
10:24 am

A perennial losing team does about 90% of the damage of not having generated any interest in Atlanta. The Thrashers have been a revolving door for top NHL talent and then decides to finally sign what they deem to be a top talent in Buff for 5 years!!! What about signing Hossa, Kovalchuk? Now they decide it’s time to plan for the future with Buff as the cornerstone? Seriously? Let them go to Canada maybe they’ll become a winning organization. I would like to see Evander Kane and Chris Thorburn go to Chicago and get a chance to win a championship because they are the best 2 players on the current Thrashers roster