No word whether Spirit, True North are in negotiations

It is unclear this morning if the Thrashers have been granted  permission by the NHL to begin negotiations with True North Sports and Entertainment, the entity that would purchase the franchise and move it to Winnipeg, or if those talks have already begun.

However, it does appear the situation is headed in that direction. All attempts to find a buyer with the intention – and wherewithal – to keep the franchise in Atlanta have not moved past the preliminary stage. After signing a non-disclosure agreement for an initial look at team financial records, a prospective buyer must provide proof of the financial assets to complete a sale. No interested party has done so to this point. Time is running out.

As I was told and reported this week, things could move quickly in regard to a sale and relocation. Although, contrary to reports, it won’t get done by this weekend.

There is also no timetable on the possible completion of a deal with True North. It is also not known if such an agreement could be reached in time for next season. The structure for a deal could be in place as True North had first hoped to acquire the Phoenix Coyotes, owned by the NHL, until a resolution was reached to kept the team in Arizona for another season earlier this week. The Glendale City Council voted to pay $25 million to the NHL for operating expenses to keep the team at least for next season.

NHL bylaws require that an owner seeking to relocate a team submit a written application to the commissioner by Jan. 1 of the year preceding the proposed move — “unless a majority of the [clubs] consents to a later filing date.” That clause and caveat leave open the question of whether a move, if a deal is reached, would be for the 2011-12 or 2012-13 season.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, speaking on NHL Live radio Thursday, said the situation in Phoenix differs from Atlanta.

“With respect to any other franchise, it comes down to ownership,” Bettman said. “It’s the reason we ended up leaving Quebec City and Winnipeg. Those teams moved when nobody wanted to own the club there anymore. If you get to that position, where somebody is not prepared to own the club anymore and you can’t find a new perspective purchaser, then you are really between a rock and a hard place.

“We know that the current ownership of the Thrashers has been trying for a long period of time to try and sell the franchise and they haven’t been able to do it. … If they can’t find local ownership, then we might all have to deal with that. But I know they have tried very hard and I assume that they continue to try very hard.”

Bettman echoed deputy commissioner Bill Daly’s statements to the AJC’s Jeff Schultz earlier in the day and would not guarantee that the Thrashers would be in Atlanta next season. Bettman said questions about the team’s future were not his to answer and referred them to team ownership.

393 comments Add your comment

Hockey, Eh?

May 13th, 2011
11:26 am

It’s hard to see how the Thrashers can start playing in Winnipeg in 2011-12 if a deal isn’t completed ASAP. The 2011-12 schedule will likely have to be finalized by mid-July, and coordinating arena dates (and making sure the travel schedule is doable) isn’t a task that can be done overnight. It’s complicated by the fact that a move from ATL to WPG would probably require realignment in the Southeast (and at least one other) division.

If the Thrashers AREN’T playing in WPG by 2011-12, it’s even harder to see why anyone would turn out to see them play in Atlanta.

Tom Lysiak

May 13th, 2011
11:31 am

If you don’t believe this is already a done deal between the league, ASG, and TNSE you are crazy. They are trying to wait an appropriate period of time before the announcement. Thus, making it appear the negotiations didn’t start until Glendale voted to approve the money. The team, the league and TNSE will just fly away into the night, but good old ASG will remain in ATL (for some period of time). At least they’re stuck with the Hawks who suck and always will. What they can’t scheme or sell their way out of is this: they will always be remembered for their ineptitude, their lawsuits, the David McDavid thing and the overall way they handled themselves. Money isn’t everything.

Batcork

May 13th, 2011
11:35 am

Everyone needs to realize its not about ASG anymore. They will take the money and run and appear to be about to do so.

Unless (contrary to all public statements by ASG) there’s a buyer in the wings that can trump TNSE’s offer, our only hope is for the league to say “not so fast”. They have the power to do that. Trouble is, there’s mounting evidence of the league’s complicity in, and benefit from, the TNSE deal. Really raw deal for ATL fans in terms of lack of protection the league has given us compared to other cities threatened with a move.

AtlFlamesFan

May 13th, 2011
11:36 am

ASG is our version of the Corporate Raiders. They bought the Hawks, Thrashers and Philips (operating rights) for $260M. Selling off the Thrasher asset for $110M, leaves them with the Hawks and Philips. Forbes lists the Hawks by themselves at $295. They can keep their remaining assets, or sell them for a huge profit after owning them for only 7 years. Gordon Gekko would be proud.
Meanwhile, Bettmen should also be proud of himself. By continuing to play in the sand, he has done ASG its biggest favor by keeping True North in the buyer’s market. ASG might have been in a weaker sellers position to sell all 3 assets if it wasn’t for Bettmen’s folly in Phoenix. But instead, the NHL gets a $60M relocation fee. What a great Win-Win situation for the NHL and ASG. (And FU to Atlanta hockey fans).

thrasherdawg

May 13th, 2011
11:36 am

Just A Question:

Why can’t we get 7000 season ticket holders to invest $15,000.00 each and just buy the team?

The ROI is there because the investers (season ticket holder) is reinvesting in their own money. Every game is a sellout. If you do the math it is a homerun.

Anyone have any idea on how to make this happen?

chaz

May 13th, 2011
11:37 am

@rdrunner, Its true. Bettman gave Winnipeg time, althouh he wont ever walk down a Winnipeg street!

This forum is a pleasure to read compared to the Phoenix saga. There was some serious mudslinging going on!

2mins

May 13th, 2011
11:48 am

thrasherdawg…. Valid idea, but the NHL does not allow community ownership.

AtlFlamesFan

May 13th, 2011
11:50 am

….and then you would need operating cash to meet payroll, bills, etc.

WisconsinNHL fan.

May 13th, 2011
11:51 am

MXK, ” Not exactly sticking up for the ‘fans in the current NHL city’. Not the ‘covenant’ that we were hoping for. “, —— This is why Bettman is a slime. He’ll go to his grave for Phoenix, but it looks like he is just walking away from Atlanta. While Atlanta is no ways right now a viable market, they IMO, might actually better then Phoenix. They certainly aren’t any worse.

2mins

May 13th, 2011
11:58 am

I think Atlanta is potentially a way better market than Phoenix, but that doesn’t matter. In the case of PHX, it’s Bettman’s ( NHL ) money on the table. In the case of Atlanta, Bettman has no vested interest.

If I had the money and had to pick between PHX or ATL, I would take Atlanta in a heartbeat. Phoenix has had decent teams over the years and in the last two years, the best teams the franchise has ever had, but they have proven its not a viable market. Atlanta has never has success, so its an unknown what would happen if they did. Atlanta has always had better attendance than Phoenix as well.

Atlanta Spirit Sucks

May 13th, 2011
11:59 am

[...] Journal, WXIA has cited an undisclosed source that the team could be sold as early as this weekend. Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that a deal with True North Sports and Entertainment of Winnipeg is "unlikely" to get done this [...]

DowntownATL

May 13th, 2011
12:05 pm

This is an excellent comment thread.

AHMartins

May 13th, 2011
12:05 pm

Hi Guys,

With all this talk about money and losing money, what it al comes down to is proper backing and marketing to make any business successful. To get more non-hcokey people interested (our family were one) onw has to invest into making the business attractive. Previusly, I said this

Our family tries to see 2-3 games a year and once we were fortunate to have our picture taken with the aluminim-foil Stanly Cup !! Highlight of our year and I don’t understand why the team/arena does not market this idea to families & kids or use it different ways in advertising along with Thrash. Interview this guy, will you ? People will understand then the Thrashers and fans are for real. (We made four smaller cups at home which sit next to the tv). The Chick-fil-a promotion does seem to be a real pity since Thrash is a bird!!! Not too smart to eat the mascot. What gives with that thinking ?

I began my own business (scrap booking) a few years ago with 2 customers and it is now thriving (14customers). What the team hasn’t fully done in my opinion yet is to invest in both the on-ice business and off-ice business. Both are as important for success overall.

Thx,

Alyson

lordstan57

May 13th, 2011
12:09 pm

This League is deep-doo. MANY franchises are in trouble…. not just the “Non-traditional” markets.
There’s a reason why the OWNERS, not Bettman needed to “grow the Mkt”.

Sick to death of the “it’s our game” BS!
The F’d up Faux regional rivalries w/ massive uninformed opinions.
Or the “You don’t deserve” a team. WE “deserve” a team more than you!
AND….. the petulant “our city is better than yours!”.

After this experience…. I find myself without my team?
I’m DONE. Screw the NHL. It’s fans.
DONE.

Overnight… All existence of the NHL will disappear from my life.
All the stuff will come off my vehicles. From my home. The NHL will cease to exist.

We’ve a Marxist in the White House for GOD”S sake. Our Federal Government is
ROTTEN with these destructive, misguided, self-serving FOOLS!!
So yea, we’ve got much bigger problems than the success of the NHL in Atlanta.

One last time???

“Live Hockey,Love Thrashers!”.
#37

Michael F

May 13th, 2011
12:14 pm

Hockey can work in Atlanta, it is just bad business by the ASG.

1. There is no reason to block off the 400 level seats. Sell those tickets day of game, starting 1.5 hours before the game starts. If you sell out those seats and people are there, they will ask for next cheapest,they won’t go home. The money made in concessions, souveniers, parking, etc. is more than leaving those seats empty.
2. Understand and acknowledge that hockey will play a back seat to other sports in this town. Don’t take that as a negative, just market your sport accordingly. More discounts early in the season when people are still watching college football, pro football and waiting for you to prove they won’t fade in the second half and then reap the rewards when the team is the main sport in town (winter time) and they are still doing well. ASG owns the Hawks too, so there should be more cross marketing (buy a hawks ticket, get 50% off a thrashers ticket, etc).
3. Pre season games should be free. Get people in the arena. Get the money from parking, concessions and souveniers and foster interest in the club early on. No one wants to pay for pre-season tickets so you have to get people in there for free. Start giving out tickets 3 hours before game time and have a “fan festival” outside during those 3 hours. Perfect for kids and adults.
4. Be more open with season ticket holders. Season ticket holders have to understand that when a team is struggling they will see a lot of discounts out there in hopes of getting others in the building. This causes STH to think the tickets aren’t worth it. Convince them they are worth it with other perks (meet and greet opportunities, autographed items…the list can go on) and when the team gets good and tickets are hard to come by, increase the incentives to the STH because they were with you when times were tough.
5. Don Waddell needs to go. I know the man is respected in hockey circles (Team USA, etc.) but perception fuels consumer sentiment. As long as he is around, people will associate the franchise with failure. Even though Dudley has set this team up nicely going forward, people will still hold a grudge against the organization as long as DW is around.

The bottom line is the players deserve to play in front of a packed house and we can get there if everyone works together. I firmly believe we can be like Chicago and Pittsburgh are now, but it is going to take effort from everyone.

ASG…do a better job of marketing the team, securing players and make the necessary changes in the front office. If you all love Atlanta so much and believe in your hometown, get the Team in the hands of someone who will keep the team here even if you don’t make millions on the sale. Stop being greedy and do what is right. Remember, you fail with the Thrashers you other businesses will most likey suffer due to fan backlash.

Fans…go to the games. Give the players a packed house to play in front of. Let them know we are there.

Players…110% every night. Yes, there will be some bad games once and awhile, but show the great effort you showed many times last season EVERY NIGHT!

City of Atlanta…help get local business leaders involved. If hockey can work in Nashville, it can certainly work here.

mbjets

May 13th, 2011
12:16 pm

This seems to be so much nicer than the soap opera going on in Glendale. I was a Winnipeg Jets fan.(still am I guess; can’t let go). When I started to see all of the news coming out of Phoenix, I just said to myself, “Here we go again”. Now with Atlanta in the mix, it is time for Gary Bettman to take a step back and look at what he has “tried” to create. Doesn’t make much sense to me. I wish no ill will towards Coyotes or Thrashers fans. I know how you feel. ‘96 was a drag. I still don’t feel that Bettman and his gang did everything they could to keep the team in Winnipeg, but looking in from the outside, we didn’t always hear what people were actually saying. All we heard was, no building, no ownership, bye-bye. Anyway, good luck Phoenix/Glendale and Atlanta. If Winnipeg gets a team back in the next year or two, I will be happy about that, but at the same time, I will feel bad for the actual hockey fans that lose their team.

DowntownATL

May 13th, 2011
12:20 pm

Alyson reminds me of something I meant to do at season’s end.

My distaste for all things ASG should in no way be construed upon their operating staff and employees. Thrash, the Blue Crew, Ben the web guy, and the ticket reps are class people and they all deserve better bosses.

David

May 13th, 2011
12:24 pm

BS – great point, numbers with related parties are all mush. I lived in Cleveland when the browns moved, a much greater travesty based upon market support, but leagues need to stop “rewarding” ownership mistakes by letting them ruin a market and fan base (no matter how big, small, diehard) to get out with some cash. I was at the two home playoffs games (stinkers) and know what that place was like (didn’t know it could GET LOUD until then). If management was competent and brought a contender to play, they’d do just fine. Instead they nickle, dime, mismanage, lie to their season ticket holders about their prices being the lowest in the NHL (when at the time where in the top third) and expect loyalty? ASG are criminals.

David

May 13th, 2011
12:29 pm

Michael F. Are you looking for a job? I’ll recommend you to run the Thrash. Those clowns doing the job could have solved a few of the problems they have by thinking like you.

Brendan

May 13th, 2011
12:35 pm

We’ve hated the AS, LLC for years. Now, they have their chance to “get even” with us. I see that. But what the AS,LLC don’t see is … that they, themselves, ruined hockey in Atlanta. Had they just done the right things, the fans would not have soured on them.

Darkhorse

May 13th, 2011
12:50 pm

My family is done w/anything related to the ASG if they sell the Thrashers to TNS. No more money to the Hawks or Arena as long as they’re the owners. I’m done with the NHL too. No more Center Ice, team gear store purchases, and so on. I’m so furious over the league letting these idiots just do whatever under the table and not care about screwing the fans by getting more involved in the media before.

I hope franchises like Nashville continue to prosper, but this situation is close to sucking the good will and enthusiasm right out of me and many others around the Atlanta region.

Your absolutely right Brendan, the ASG ownership 100% ruined this franchise. But yet they are poised to make out pretty good here and get off the hook(if they don’t truely try and keep the team here, and I doubt they really tried). I’m praying the karma train will hit them head on sometime soon.

Eric

May 13th, 2011
12:55 pm

Expect an annoucement after the Stanley Cup Finals. Obviously, the NHL has had discussions with the Winnipeg group about ATL if the Phoenix deal falls through. Hockey can work in WPG just like its working in EDM and CAL though with limited success. Hockey would work in ATL with the right owners. Unfortuneately, AS has admitted they are a basketball group and own the operating rights to the arena. Would you want to buy the team knowing you have to work with those litigious owners over dates to use the arena? Remember the Thrashers have never even won a playoff game. Don’t balme the fans for a lousy product.

Michael F

May 13th, 2011
1:02 pm

@David…Thanks for your comment. Honestly,I would love a chance to implement some of my ideas as I feel very deeply they would work. So if you know anyone I can talk to, just let me know. =)

In terms of the fan festival, you already have the sumo costumes and everything you take on the road for youth clinics, so there is no expense there. The only expense is employees to run the festival. You shouldn’t need many and it is only 3 hours. Plus, if you get more kids loving the sport, the more they will ask their parents to take them to games which will increase your ticket sales.

I firmly believe my ideas will help people feel they are getting their monies worth, that the team is headed in the right direction, and that they are working to connect with the community. If you do all of those, I think people will support the team as it grows, not just when things are great.

I was in the building during the playoffs a few years ago. I know how crazy this fan base can be…I just need to get the ear of the right people.

Heck, if I fail next season (which I WON’T), they can move the Thrash for 2012, but at least give us a chance to save them! I firmly believe with the core we have of Buff, Kane, Stuart, Toby, Pavs, Little, Bogo, Wheeler, and Ladd (just to name a few and if Wheeler and Ladd resign) and a packed house, the Thrashers can do some damage next year!

[...] Read this article: No word whether Spirit, True North are in negotiations – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

foncused

May 13th, 2011
1:49 pm

First, I think all the curernt and past season ticket holders should file a class action law suit against ASG for mismanagement and lying to their fans and season ticket holders. Not sure there is any case law to support a being “lied to to increase sales” case, but at this point in time, we need to stick it to ASG any way we can.

Second, if you read the writing on the wall in hind site, I would venture to say that ASG has been in negotiations with True North for some time. Why this year did they finally decide to sign one of our best players to a long term contract (Buff)? Why this year did they extend Rick Dudley’s contract?

Their lack of planning for future in years past made those two signings odd in a time when the ownership was in question. Now that we hear the deal is almost a foregone conclusion, I am left to believe that there was never any real attempt to find local owners, aside from perhaps driving the price a bit and “scaring” True North into upping their offer.

I have resigned myself that our team is leaving. It is sad . . so many good memories of the team and players . . I am hopeful that there is light at the end of the tunnel and this is mere mis-information while other negotiations take place, but ASG’s (and Waddel’s) bold face lies in the recent past have left me skeptical at best.

If there are any attorneys who can look into any suit options against ASG, post it here . . . I think there would be a significant number of people who would be willing to sign-on to a class action.

Stu

May 13th, 2011
1:55 pm

If it’s about ownership as Bettman says, why did the NHL purchase the Coyotes? No one wanted to pay to keep the team in Glendale, and there’s still no one willing to use their own money on the team if it’s going to stay put. Atlanta’s doing better as a franchise, gets more support, has a much more favorable arena deal, is in a larger market, is in a larger TV market, and is overall in a better situation to be successful than the Coyotes. They have also had a poor on-ice product that is starting to improve, while Phoenix has a great team and still no support. If the NHL was willing to purchase the team and assume a lot of their losses for years in Phoenix because no one wanted to buy the team, that’s a worse ownership situation than exists in Atlanta.

EA

May 13th, 2011
1:58 pm

There are so many conflicting articles on this story. No one is saying definitely that the situation is leaning the way of the Thrashers moving. Kevin Allen, USA Today, picked up on Jeff S. idea of asking if the league is doing enough to save the Thrashers. Since the hockey world is looking to the Atlanta paper for comments and then re printing them, I think the facts should be the only thing reported.

2mins

May 13th, 2011
2:09 pm

Stu…. the only reason the NHL bought the Coyotes was to maintain control of thier franchises. If the NHL had not bought the Coyotes then they would be in Hamilton right now against the NHL wishes, and sports teams all over N.A. would be claiming Bankruptcy just so they could move when every they felt like it. Not a good way to build fan support.

J-man

May 13th, 2011
2:19 pm

rdrunner – “semi-pro” is not the correct term to use for the AHL and IHL. Those guys are paid professionals. Atlanta had a successful IHL team that won the championship around 1995 or 1996 (I don’t remember exactly) that as best I remember had good attendance at the old Omni arena. That team moved to Quebec City when it became known that Atlanta would eventually get an NHL expansion team but that the IHL owners of the Atlanta Knights would not be the NHL team owners.

I forgot who else asked, but it really does seem that both Gearon and Levenson believe that they can sell the Thrashers and watch them leave town and there will be zero repercussions.

Dear Gary

May 13th, 2011
2:23 pm

So…Mr. Bettman…who exactly wants to own the Coyotes in Phoenix?

You’re such a liar. Do you think people actually believe the crap that spews out of your mouth?

Curious George

May 13th, 2011
2:25 pm

Is it wrong for me to wish Obama bin Laden had been using Bruce Levenson as as human shield about 2 weeks ago?

rdrunner

May 13th, 2011
2:29 pm

@ Stu – NHL purchased the Yotes because otherwise, not only would they have relocated to Hamilton, but it would have set a dangerous precedent for all pro sports. It was a case where the league needed to maintain rights over the location of their franchises… which frankly is not much different than a Subway or McDonald’s. If the franchisor doesn’t like the location, they don’t give you a franchise, period.

@ J-man, you’re right but by “semi-pro” I meant not NHL… So, my next question is this… Notwithstanding the hardship that is obviously being shared on this site by loyal Thrashers fans who would be (or are already) pissed at this situation, and notwithstanding that there would be backlash initially, can someone give me a legitimate reason why an AHL franchise wouldn’t succeed in Atlanta? Much lower cost to run… don’t have to fill the arena each night… This is a pure business question; not an emotional one… (I asked the same question in Phoenix and they told me that the Roadrunners failed miserably)

Joe Friday

May 13th, 2011
2:36 pm

“can someone give me a legitimate reason why an AHL franchise wouldn’t succeed in Atlanta? Much lower cost to run… don’t have to fill the arena each night… This is a pure business question; not an emotional one… ”

This. It’s why I suspected for a while is the plan. I think they are going to bring in an AHL team, you’ll have the same 5 to 10,000 fans show up, and it’ll make money as the payroll is so much less on an AHL club. Our old club, the Atlanta Knights, were MUCH more enjoyable to watch than the Thrashers . . . and a new AHL club would do well here. Here’s a thought, we all know that the relationship with the Chicago Wolves stunk and needs to be replaced, and I’m sure real management in WPG will fix that issue . . . what if the plan is that we get a new AHL team here and it becomes the Thrashers’ AHL affiliate?

AuburnZ

May 13th, 2011
2:44 pm

To expand on our previous IHL team…copied from wikipedia…

The Atlanta Knights were an IHL expansion team in 1992 as the top farm team of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. They won the Turner Cup in the 1993–94 season. The Knights featured the first professional African-American head coach in John Paris Jr.. The Knights were also one of the first professional teams to play a female goalie, Manon Rheaume, in a regular-season game. For the 1996–97 season, the Knights relocated due to the Omni’s impending demolition to make way for Philips Arena, home to Atlanta’s new NHL team, the Atlanta Thrashers.

During their years in Atlanta, Rick Morgan was their full-time national anthem singer and encouraged the crowd to shout “KNIGHTS!” during the line, “Gave proof through the “KNIGHTS” that our flag was still there.” It is still customary to hear an emphasized, shouted “KNIGHTS!” during the national anthem at Thrashers games at Philips Arena by spectators in honor of the team.

Knights Record in Atlanta
Year GP W L RT PTS Finish Playoffs
1992-93 82 52 23 7 111 1st, Atlantic Lost Semi-Finals
1993-94 81 45 22 14 104 1st, Midwest Won Turner Cup
1994-95 81 39 37 5 83 3rd, Central Lost in Round One
1995-96 82 32 41 9 73 4th, Central Lost in Round One

Southernhockeyfan

May 13th, 2011
3:03 pm

Since the Thrashers are history, maybe we should talk about whether the AHL would even come to town at this point. That seems the best we can hope for. The NHL will never be back. Thanks ownership I hope you all go bankrupt for what you guys have done. When it happens, I hear they are hiring at McDonalds. Just remember to look the customer in the eye when you say “do you want fries with that order.”

thrasherdawg

May 13th, 2011
3:04 pm

A Solution:

Give Winnipeg an expansion team. Take the $60 million fee, give it to the new owner in Atlanta to help subsidize the purchase. Then I bet you would find a billionaire who would do that deal. I’m sure they would line up.

Under this plan everybody is happy. NHL has another team, Winnipeg gets the team they want, and the Thrashers stay in Atlanta. It’s a WIN,WIN,WIN.

thrasherdawg

May 13th, 2011
3:06 pm

Just Asking:

Why doesn’t the guy (sorry I don’t know his name)who won the 200, 300 million dollar lawsuit (whatever it was) buy the team?

Southernhockeyfan

May 13th, 2011
3:09 pm

RDrunner I thought you knew hockey. Semi-Pro? Guys in the AHL are paid well. It’s a full-time gig. Come on man!!!! Semi-Pro is a guy who works 9-5 somewhere and then plays in a league on weekends.

Equi-Drew

May 13th, 2011
3:12 pm

Take the team, leave the naming rights and logos…We can get us a Professional Soccer team, wear the same gear, and have a tradition in Atlanta that while painful is unique to us. Thats how you build a good sporting community. I am thinking of some shirts imagine these:

1)the NHL Sucks…
2)Hockey is for carpetbaggers…
3)Hockey sucks…with a thrashers logo right below it.
4)We as atlantians replace the word F*** with Puck…
5)IF it can’t be played outside in 100 degree weather its not a sport.
6)Summer Olympics = Bad Hockey
7)Blueland…just how it sounds….

Bet you guys would buy my shirts wouldn’t you? I release my ideas to you my fellow thrashers fans to do with these ideas as you wish.

jimcee

May 13th, 2011
3:17 pm

Thrasherdawg…your scenario is very intriuging.

So Winnipeg gets an expansion team and pays the NHL the expansion fee…NHL uses some of that money to help secure the Atlanta situation (as well as other weaker teams like Columbus and the New York Islanders) and keeps team in 5.5 million person market.Makes sense to me.

NHL is a 31 team league until Quebec joins when their new arena is built to make it 32 teams…I like it!

PureEvil

May 13th, 2011
3:24 pm

If the Thrashers would’ve given us something worth supporting maybe hockey in the ATL would be safe! I’m not a hockey fan at all but I agree with Matt S on 680 the fan….Atlanta losing the Thrashers is yet another bullet in the guns of people who say Atlanta sports fans are the worst in the country. That’s what upsets me the most.

PureEvil

May 13th, 2011
3:29 pm

Give Winnipeg an expansion team.

The NHL needs contraction not expansion!!

Tom Lysiak

May 13th, 2011
3:45 pm

That guy who won the lawsuit was David McDavid from Dallas I believe. Many of us have wondered why he doesn’t just buy everything now using Turner’s money, not his own.

rdrunner

May 13th, 2011
3:49 pm

The NHL has no upside to putting a team in Winnipeg for the pure reason of having a team there. As someone else stated before, it’s a saturated market. The ONLY reason that the NHL puts a team in Winnipeg is if it has expired ALL, and EVERY opportunity to make it work in larger future potential markets like ATL or PHX. They will come to Winnipeg kicking and screaming if and only if they feel they have no choice. Contraction in terms of letting a team die is not an option. Having a small market team in Winnipeg, which allows the move of an eastern division team to the west is better than folding a team altogether.

…and ok, for those knocking my “semi-pro” comment. Yes, I screwed up. sorry… I meant to distinguish between NHL teams… sheesh… ya make one mistake and everyone shoots you… lol

PureEvil

May 13th, 2011
3:51 pm

Contraction in terms of letting a team die is not an option

I agree no major sport is ever going to let a team die BUT, do you not agree that the game would benifit from contraction?

Dale Hawerchuk

May 13th, 2011
3:52 pm

I can not sit by and let people bash Winnipeg’ss market.They are 750,000 strong hockey loving people.With the surronding area they are almost 1.2 million people when you include Eastern Saskatchewan and Northern Minnesota and Northdakota and NW Ontario. The amount of hockey fans in that area is much more total fans than Phoenix and Atlanta have together. When I played in Winnipeg it was my best stint in the NHL. People who say they will not play in Winnipeg and people who asume players will not play in Winnipeg are deeply misinformed. Actually Winnipeg has a lot to offer. YES,it is colder there than any city in the US but you just put on a little heavier coat and go to it.Its sad a team leaves any city but please do not bash something you know nothing about.

jimcee

May 13th, 2011
3:53 pm

It will be interesting to see how the NHL can possibly put a positive spin on losing a market the size of Atlanta IF the Thrashers leave…I still think something can be worked out but it will take a concerted effort by fans buying 2011-2012 season tickets(they would be refunded if team moves),corporations(Coca Cola,Delta,UPS,Home Depot etc.) and the mayor of Atlanta.

Time for people to roll up their sleeves and do something positive.

Slick

May 13th, 2011
3:53 pm

They were called the Knights, rdrunner. Won the Turner Cup in ’90’s @ the Omni. I was there that night, what a blast. That’s why KNIGHTS is (direspectfully I might add) yelled during every national anthem performance before each Thrasher Game. The Knight’s success was the precursor to getting an NHL team here in Atlanta…they primed the pump.

thrasherdawg

May 13th, 2011
3:56 pm

Well let’s call David McDavid from Dallas, we know he has the money.