So…the Atlanta Spirit, LLC lied to us, did they? When asked many times over if they intended to sell the Thrashers organization over the past several years, they denied it…only to reveal in court documents recently that they had indeed looked to do just that. Not only that, but now we’ve learned of yet another lawsuit being entered into by the ownership cluster known as the Atlanta spirit, LLC.
The LLC, it seems, could now stand for Lies, Lawsuits and Contempt for the fans.
Really, no one should be terribly shocked to learn that one of…if not THE…most dysfunctional collection of businessmen ever to own a sports franchise actually dared to speak untruths to their paying population. The Great Octocluster has from day one proved themselves to be unworthy of our unquestioning trust.
One can’t help but wonder how much healthier their NHL team would be if they had invested as much money in it as they have on legal representation over the past six years. But as it stands now, if the Thrashers franchise were children and those who comprise the ownership cluster were the parents, Georgia DFCS would have been called in long ago to rescue them from such abuse and neglect.
I know it, you know it and the Thrasherville people know it.
Even so, hockey fans in Atlanta are indeed justified in being 100%, USDA Grade-A pissed off about being lied to for so long, and the Octocluster is deserving of any backlash they may receive from them. When one’s lies have been found out, that’s to be expected.
And while I join your cries of outrage in the aftermath of this info-bomb that was just detonated over our heads Friday afternoon, there is a big part of me that welcomes this news that the Great Octocluster have looked to sell the Thrashers. Given that those who make up this mess of an ownership have done enough damage to this franchise since acquiring it, the best thing for the franchise and its fans is for them to find a new buyer and stop doing more damage.
I can say this, you see, because I’m not one of those who will automatically jump to the knee-jerk conclusion that any such sale equates to their relocation. Sports franchises are bought and sold all the time and not always are they relocated.
It’s true. Look it up.
Of course, this little fact nugget doesn’t prevent the endless parade of rumor mill fodder created by certain bloggers, both of the domestic variety and north of the border. Of course, most of this drivel is produced in their mother’s basements in a pants-optional environment. Unfortunately, a story like this will only prove to encourage their rumor output even more.
Countering such nonsense, we’ve all read and heard the reasoning of why such relocation stories are simply nonsense. From the naming rights to Philips Arena being tied to having at least two pro sports teams play there… to the agreement with the league by the A.S. LLC when they bought them that they would not relocate them from Atlanta… to the NHL’s stated desire to remain in the Atlanta market as opposed to moving them to a smaller one…there are a host of reasons to support filing these internet rumors in the fiction section.
But even if you don’t fully accept the above as the gospel, there’s still this piece of logic to take under consideration. If YOU owned the Thrashers, Hawks and Philips Arena and YOU were in fact looking to sell off the hockey team, why in the world would you seek to strike a deal with someone intent on taking them out of town? I mean, would you want this future tenant to drive away from the market and depart with all that potential rent money?
No, I would think you would try to do exactly what the spirit Clowns have sought to do and find a local buyer whose aim is to keep them right here in Atlanta.
And if the AS, LLC had indeed sold the Thrashers years ago, they would probably be in much better shape today than they are. True, we’re seeing some serious progress finally…but we would be years further down the road, I truly believe, if the franchise were actually owned and operated by competent, passionate, people who might just have a love for the game.
That, or at least a fundamental understanding and appreciation for it…either would be an improvement.
Now, while some will use the occasion of this mighty revelation to renew calls to boycott going to games, I would instead insist that quite the opposite would be the appropriate response. If you want real, fundamental change to come to this franchise…specifically speaking, new ownership…then you have to give any prospective buyer the reason to make that investment.
And empty seats will not help in bringing about that change.
If, in fact, there is someone or some group out there looking to take our Thrashers off the Octocluster’s hands and do so with the intent of doing whatever it takes to building a winning NHL franchise here in Atlanta, I want them to see that there is a most live and vibrant fan base here and is starving for just such ownership.
Besides… I love the experience of live NHL hockey games, the greatest sporting event in the world, in my most humble of opinion. And after all…true, sincere, passionate, genuine NHL hockey fans are at games if and when they have the ability.
So while some may profess the correct path is to sit idly by and not attend games, I will instead continue to whip out my wallet and buy my way into Philips Arena to watch these Thrashers. I’ll continue to go, whether it’s just me, with a friend or with my family.
Of course, some may accuse me of subsidizing an incompetent ownership or supporting failure. But that insistence would only have merit if I were doing so to keep the current cast of clowns in charge of this organization.
If I’m “subsidizing” anything, it’s an investment in the future of hockey in this city. And for it to survive here, the A.S., LLC must finally get their wish and sell them to someone who is in fact buying them.
If you care to join me in ‘subsidizing the future” for this franchise by attending games, you know I’ve already got the tools in place to help you out. Simply click –>HERE<– and use promo code RAWHIDE to get deals on the remaining games in January.
Also, for the February 13 games against Carolina you can get seats in 203-204 and a replica Thrashers jersey for just $26. Simply call Karin at 404-878-3781 or e-mail her at Karin.Beckman@atlantaspirit.com.
By: Bill Tiller – AJC.com Thrashers Fan Blog