Cool your jets Thrasherville and remember four letters: WWGD

Just as soon as the Glendale City Council voted 5-2 to pony up the $25 million to the NHL to keep the Coyotes there for at least another year, it was clear that Thrasherville was soon to become the new frontrunner in the ongoing relocation saga. Clearly the media, at least the cyber media, was ready to turn its attention to our team once the dust became settled in the Arizona desert.

The “news makers” of the web need traffic and they’ll direct whatever they can however they can, after all.

And sure as hell is hot, it only took about a day before a rumor was posted in the cybersphere that within 24-48 hours it would be announced the team was sold to TNSE and will be moving to Winnipeg for the 2011-12 season. Making people’s reaction to it even that much more interesting is that the “breaking news” came from a source that so many brush aside as “unreliable”…but that didn’t keep some from pointing to it as the sure sign that the end was near.

Of course that period of time came and went with no such announcement being made and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the story was purely fiction.

“So people just make this stuff up, right?” Bettman told ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun while attending game seven of the Sharks-Red Wings series. “Where’s the accountability from all the people who a month ago were saying that Phoenix was definitely going? Whatever is being written [about Atlanta] is being made up.”

Thus, we are now able to place that fabrication in the same trash bin we have so any other “Relocation Announcement Eminent” rumor.

Now this is in no way, shape, manner or form an attempt to sugarcoat the troubling position Thrasherville finds itself in today with the ownership issues. Nor am I wanting to appear to be “whistling my way past the graveyard” in regards to the fact that the Atlanta Spirit, LLC…our brutally bad owners… may very well be in the process of delivering its final insult and slap to the faces of Thrashers fans.

However, I would simply caution you to not fall prey to some of the stuff being cranked out of the rumor mill while this saga plays out. And don’t allow your emotions to be yanked up and down whenever you read about “impending announcements” from sources that have no names.

In the end, the outcome of this drama will be directed by not the internet pundits or talking heads on sports shows across North America. Nor will the matter be settled by those cyber-warriors who infiltrate blog sites and debate the merits of Atlanta, Phoenix, Winnipeg or [insert name of city here] as an NHL city.

Nope, all one needs to know when it comes to how this is all going to play out are these four letters…WWGD. What Would Gary Do?

In the end I truly believe this all comes down to Gary Bettman and if he intends to make any sort of stand here in protection of an NHL presence in the Atlanta market, or if he and the league lack the stomach for another fight to save the team from relocation and allow the franchise to uproot to move to points north.

There are all sorts of theories and ideas from all sides of the debate attempting justify why Bettman will do “this” or do “that”. To some he simply cannot…could not…would not…turn his back on a market the size of Atlanta, (or Phoenix for that matter), and let it land in one the size of Winnipeg.

To others it matters not the size and potential of the market, but how many fans will pony up the funds to come out and see the team play right now. 17,000 from 750,000 is greater, they would say, then 10,000 from 6 million.

Some will argue…and rightfully so I would add… that Bettman and Co. understands fully the problems in Thrasherville rest squarely on the shoulders of the uncaring, apathetic, dysfunctional ownership cluster flop known as the AS, LLC. Any professional sports franchise would difficulty succeeding given the way the Great Octocluster, (the seven owners and Don Waddell) have run it and the empty seats in Philips Arena are the product of their ineptitude, not a weak fan base.

Others simply see the empty seats and insist new owners are not the answer, a new location is. A new location where fans will show up no matter how much the team under-performs or how badly they are treated by ownership. A place where you’ll never have to see the team president pull out a hand-made sign during an intermission interview on TV that requests fans call and buy tickets.

(Yes…that actually happened here last winter. Why Don Waddell even bothers hiring a sales and marketing staff and doesn’t just go it alone with his brilliant ideas is simply baffling to me.)

Obviously, I side with those who understand the fact that this city not only can provide rabid support for the NHL franchise, it has done so in the past. In the years leading up to the lockout and just after, attendance was not an issue. Fans came out to watch a team on the rise. Unfortunately after the current ownership took over and it was clear the Thrashers were the ugly, redheaded stepchildren to them, and were being operated at bargain basement levels…many fans simply chose not to return.

“If the Spirit Clowns don’t care enough to invest in the team, why should I?” was the prevailing question from those fans.

You may discuss amongst yourselves whether or not those fans were right to do so…but I can’t argue with their reasoning. The Atlanta Spirit, LLC could not have inflicted more damage upon the future of hockey here if they had intended to do so from the day they took over in 2004.

But while the endless rumors, conjecture and premature prediction of possible relocations continue to cloud the subject, there is one thing for certain to happen here. The Atlanta Thrashers will indeed be sold, either along with the NBA Hawks and Philips Arena or alone. As such, we will once and for all be rid of the most dysfunctional band of [insert appropriate descriptive words for the AS, LLC here] ever to own a professional sports franchise.

The $110 million question is, of course, will the new owner(s) be intent to keep the team here… or will they whisk them away to a venue far, far away?

Whether it is the former or the latter, like I said, that’s up to one man in my opinion… Mr. Bettman. And so all eyes will be upon him in the coming weeks as hockey fans here, in Winnipeg and all across the NHL landscape look to see just what will Gary do.

In the mean time, I would advise that everyone cool their jets and not allow themselves to be jerked around so easily by the relocation rumor de jour crowd.

215 comments Add your comment

AudraM

May 16th, 2011
9:18 am

Once again… Nicely done Bill! In this midst of all the recent “I heard this” and “I read that,” it’s nice to be reminded that, no matter the outcome, it is out of our hands. I, for one, have been guilty of reading everything and worrying about it all and it is stressing me out! … Maybe that’s where the strep throat came from :( … Anyways, thanks for reminding me to take a deep breath and relax… And thanks again for lunch the other day! Must do it again so… As soon as I recover :)

-AM

matt

May 16th, 2011
9:23 am

Death to the Great Octocluster.

Hockey Biltong

May 16th, 2011
9:30 am

I will buy the team as soon as my money gets here.

LAC

May 16th, 2011
9:31 am

Great AS ALWAYS Bill, this mess just keeps going and going. Get sick of hearing how winnipeg is owed a team. Who would want to live or play there ??? Been there and not much to do or see…
Let’s old Gary gets some manhood about him and does the RIGHT thing for Atlanta…
Just think what a New Commited OWNER could pull off in Atlanta !!!!

DWTOO

May 16th, 2011
9:34 am

Thank You Rawhide! Needed this after reading some 370 posts of venom and drivel on C Viv’s blog. He finally has posted another, far better analysis. Am getting really tired of this crud. Vivlamore and Tucker have done nothing to quell the stupidity of what’s been floating around, except to stoke the fears.

MRS DWTOO and I have repeatedly referred back to the comments of our esteemed blogger and actual journalist, Redlight, who has pointed out not to believe anything printed until the actual announcement. Everything else is speculation. But, it’s hard not to watch – like looking at a car wreck.

Ray

May 16th, 2011
9:37 am

Your most accurate statement in the whole column? “Whistling my way past the graveyard.”
Goodnight Chet !

KLS1

May 16th, 2011
9:47 am

Not optimistic…cash is king. These ASG guys really want to sell adn True North really wants to buy.

With the NHL in ongoing wrangling with one franchise, it is unlikely they will get financially involved with another as well.

hockeygoon79

May 16th, 2011
9:49 am

I was wondering when you were going to chime in on this situation BlogMaster. And a very nice opine at that.

I too am very anxious to see what Bettman does here and in the end that is where this matter rests. Vivlamore and a very interesting piece today regarding the other NHL owners and how they may possibly be of help here too. But we’ll just have to wait and see.

BTW, very nice article on your son I saw posted this weekend. You have to be a very proud papa.

Did the Move Yet?

May 16th, 2011
9:52 am

Here’s the best way to stay current on the Thrashers sale: http://www.DidTheThrashersMoveToWinnipegYet.com/ Live updates 24/7/365.

ZAvalanche

May 16th, 2011
9:53 am

Wow, C-Viv’s blog the other day got ugly fast. The Canadians hating on us, us hating on them etc. I read like a CNN board discussing Obama’s birth country or economic policy. Blog Master has it right and, as usual, gets facts, not conjecture cowardly generated from the comfort of someone’s couch with the intention to p!ss somebody off.

Hockey has thrived in Atl at times. I distinctly remember going to games when I visited my brother there and the house was packed. And you know what, those teams in the early years were not as good as this team we have now. Marketing – everywhere. I recall going to a local establishment and some of the Blue Crew were there, in uniform (grrrr), handing out prizes and such to lure people to the game. It worked – really well. I know what you are going to say – yes I am a hockey fan I an would go to any game in any city I visit, but the cool thing was that I would be sitting by a person who had never been and would ask about the rules and was LOVING it. A$$G has turned this franchise into a “cluster flop”. Bill is right, we will have a new owner – I just hope the team stays.

BTW, thrilling game last night. Thornton and Kesler went at it all night – and it was totally awesome to watch! Congrats to Tampa for a steal on the road. I was unable to watch it as I was camping – in the snow. I should find a way to fire all the meteorologists who said it would be 65 all weekend……

Brian

May 16th, 2011
10:05 am

While i agree that bettman invested time and effort in Atlanta in 1999, he will more than likely allow any relocation to occure for three clear reasons
1. NHL cannot afford to control 2 teams at once, esp. in bad markets where revenue comes nowhere close to compensating losses.
2. Bettman is being pressured by the Canadian media, and its obvious to him that the finacially sav. move is to relocate, rather than attempt mediation or block movement
3. Naming-rights changed earlier this year, could be nothing, could be a move to prepare for rebanding, or no branding
4. NHL tv schedule designed to be effiecent without an Atlanta, (NOT A GOOD SIGN)
5. ASG isnt even saying anything positive, they are merely keeping us in the car till the accident
6. and my personal favorite, check the Website, do you see anything new, rebranding, new stories, nope! just easy to write, cost-efficent garbel from our 4th liners and select-a-seat, because they have the nerve to sell tickets now with our franchise in jep.

in the words of the movie Airplane, I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue

Brian

May 16th, 2011
10:07 am

oh, and ATL is broke, and glendale isnt. it would be irresponsible for Atlanta to hold up a lossing franchise at this time. i realize theres more than three, which just makes me sadder

EA

May 16th, 2011
10:09 am

Bill, you are simply the best. We all needed your wisdom as one who always keeps your head above the fray and looks out for the fans. Your blog, a fan’s perspective, always lives up to its billing. Thanks.

ZAvalanche

May 16th, 2011
10:14 am

OK, so I am a bit slow this morning, but that is a great headline Bill! Lol, “cool your Jets…”. Pun intended?

Rawhide

May 16th, 2011
10:16 am

Audra M – Always a red letter day whn we get a comment from you, my friend. Hope you get feeling better soon.

ZAvs – Hmmm, gee…I really never thought about that. :cool:

HG79 – Thank you very much.

Sage of Bluesland

May 16th, 2011
10:29 am

“…A place where you’ll never have to see the team president pull out a hand-made sign during an intermission interview on TV that requests fans call and buy tickets….”

How embarrassing. I don’t recall this one at all…but, with the blustering, lisping idiot, I can’t keep all of his miscues, obfuscations, and outright lies straight.

The league shares a portion of this responsibility, approving the sale to such a diverse cluster of entities/individuals. It was a foundation built on quicksand and should be a lesson to all leagues for the future (if not the past from other instances?).

When the biggest money partner (Belkin) tried to stop the Joe Johnson fleecing, he was told to get out, despite being the appointed partner in charge of NBA operations. Even incompetent Billy Knight refused to shake his hand. It’s funny how things look now, in retrospect, isn’t it? Belkin had the deepest pockets of all the owners–and his noncontribution to the resulting losses have crippled the mere children remaining.

Such foolhardiness! As stated earlier, if this isn’t a pattern of what NOT to do (on allowing multiple parties who individually don’t truly have the means for this sort of enterprise), then I don’t what would be.

As others have stated many times: The fans didn’t fail this organization. The organization failed the fans. The league failed the fans by allowing this collection of children to be allowed to play in an adult world.

I don’t regret, for a minute, not giving any of my hard-earned dollars into any of these undeserving pockets since 2002…

Atlanta Flames Fan

May 16th, 2011
10:29 am

I am going to post here what I posted on CViv’s blog. I really think that we are in extreme danger of losing the team. And once it happens, there is no going back. We must do all that we can do to ensure that it does not happen. In the event that we do end up keeping the team (a scenario that I currently believe is quite unlikely), we will never know how close we came to losing them.

Smoothie

May 16th, 2011
10:31 am

Well done Bill! And good to see another voice of reason calmly pointing to reason amidst this swirling tornado of rumor and innuendo.

As you said, it’s really up to Gary Bettman, the Board of Governors and of course, our very own brilliant Octocluster of cowards. The “good” news is that the ASG is NOT facing bankruptcy as they have very little debt other than the bond repayment which can now be covered by the new NHL TV contract if they so chose. Yeah, their cash flow has taken a serious hit lately thanks to the Belkin fiasco, but that situation is a by-product of their own flawed decision-making.

Thusly, I’m not so sure Bettman will be all that sympathetic to their “plight” of not being able to “stomach” more $20 M losses. $20 M you say? Well, Mr. Bettman says, shall we take a look at your books? Perhaps we can help you with some financing or cost-cutting, such as getting rid of certain useless upper level management! ;) But I digress, the point is this: most teams which have been relocated before have suffered bankruptcy or were on the verge of financial collapse (see Atlanta Flames circa 1979). Anyway, will Bettman really get duped into thinking the situation is as “urgent” as Mr. Gearon would have you believe? Hmmmm, not so sure.

Hoof Arted

May 16th, 2011
10:35 am

I think Bettman give Atlanta one season to fix this mess the Octocluster has created, much like the Coyotes, (but for differing reasons of course). I also think we will not see a dime from the city government to help the cause, but in all honesty they are in no position to do so.

Crossing fingers, hoping for the best.

Oh and Audra M, Helllllllloooooooooooooooooooooo there… :wink:

Atlanta Flames Fan

May 16th, 2011
10:37 am

I do not believe that the NHL gives a damn about ASG’s status. The NHL probably is just as fed up with them as we are. ASG’s books mean nothing to the NHL. The NHL would prefer to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta. However, the NHL is bleeding money in Phoenix. The Yotes cost them $15M last year and is probably going to cost them that much this coming season. But it could get worse for the NHL. The Goldwater Institute has now questioned the legality of the Glendale $25M subsidy to the NHL and is threatening to sue over it. If they succeed, the NHL could be liable for another $25M for next season. And it would stand to reason that they might even have to refund this past season’s $25M payment.

So, while the NHL would prefer to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta, they want the easy $60M relocation fee they would get by letting them fly to Winnepeg. And as an added bonus, they would no longer have to deal with ASG.

Atlanta Flames Fan

May 16th, 2011
10:41 am

Again, I think that our situation is very precarious.

I believe that the 95% figure that Chris has stated is probably pretty accurate. A True North/ASG deal could be done very quickly. The price seems to be already settled, so there really is no negotiations necessary.

I also agree with Chris that the owners are now the key. One angle is what Chris mentioned; that the owners may prefer to sell the Coyotes rather than take the $60M Thrasher relocation fee. In fact, the Goldwater Institute has now questioned the legality of the $25 subsidy that Glendale is paying, and has threatened to sue. If they do, the NHL could be in for another $50 hit for this coming year and last year’s subsidy.

I also see another angle with the owners. Pressure needs to be put on them that sacrificing Atlanta in order to recoup the league’s losses in Phoenix is unacceptable. I believe that the best pressure would be political. We need to go back to Mayor Reed, not asking for an unrealistic Glendale-style subsidy, but instead, a strong statement. Mayor Reed should question the NHL on their conflict-of-interest in sacrificing Atlanta to cover their Phoenix losses. He should demand that the NHL explain why only a few months ago, Gary Bettman was speaking of the “covenant with the fans” of Atlanta; that they would exert the effort for Atlanta that they have done for other NHL cities, including Phoenix, and yet in this short amount of time, seem to be announcing that they are ready to give up on Atlanta. Mayor Reed should ask what would cause such a change in the NHL’s position in such a short time, if it is not the fact that the Coyote sale has fallen apart.

The same should be done by Governor Deal, demanding an explanation from the NHL.

And finally, our congressmen should get involved. Can you imagine what impact it would have on the league if Congressman John Lewis was to publicly question the NHL about their motivation for abandoning Atlanta? A joint statement from him and the Republican Representatives of the northern suburbs, whose have constituents concerned about the loss of the team would be tremendous. The northern suburbs also have an economic stake in this issue. In 1980, after the Flames left for Calgary, EVERY ICE HOCKEY RINK IN METRO ATLANTA SHUT THEIR DOORS! Would we see the closure of IceForum Duluth, IceForum Kennesaw, The Marietta Ice Center (the MIC), The Cooler in Alpharetta, and the newly constructed The Ice in Cumming? The local Chambers of Commerce should be active, encouraging our Representatives to publicly question the NHL about their motivation.

If you are a hockey fan in metro Atlanta, please contact your Representative and local Chamber of Commerce.

Seriously!

Atlanta Flames Fan

May 16th, 2011
10:42 am

The idea is to stop the train wreck before it happens. Once it happens, the passengers cannot be brought back to life.

By sounding the alarms, CViv and Jeff Shultz may be the ones who save hockey in Atlanta. And the sad thing is, if the team does stay, no one will know how much of the credit goes to the two of them.

Smoothie

May 16th, 2011
10:46 am

Atlanta Flames Fan – why get hung up on the $60 M relo fee. As Viv pointed out, the league would do better to simply sell the Coyotes to TNSE for $170 M. They get the whole amount to cover losses, not just the $60 M that essentially amounts to extortion by the NHL to use ATL as leverage to save the Coyotes. Bad PR move on the part of the NHL, not to mention short-sighted business sense.

glovesave29

May 16th, 2011
10:49 am

In today’s economic climate, even being a huge hockey fan – I WOULD NOT want mayor Reed to offer millions to the ASG a la Glendale to save the team. The taxpayers of Arizona are not getting a fair shake, and regardless of politics…the Goldwater Institute is correct.

The current currency situation with the Loonie having the greater value is also not likely to continue. The historic level of $0.73 CDN / $1 USD will return soon enough. The issues that plagued the Nords and Jets will return.

Anyone giving creedence to a report coming from Eklund, well…Jeff Schultz said it best…”its like hearing Elvis was spotted at Wendy’s”. His 48 hour window passed 3 days ago. Unfortunately, our esteemed beat writer has not helped, fanning the flames (pun intended) north of the border. Seems as though neither one has an editor to answer to…

Team is in trouble…no doubt. I can see them leaving just as easily and staying put. If I have to go with my gut, I say the Coyotes play one last season in the desert and go back to Winnipeg. That by no means makes us safe…Quebec will get louder soon.

So how many people will go to the ticket selection event on the 21st? Will this be all over by then?

glovesave29

May 16th, 2011
10:58 am

forgot this point…

I WOULD like to see Mayor Reed act like a mayor and work with community leaders and businesses to save the team…much like Kevin Johnson did for the Kings in Sacramento. Stay out of public funds…but I am sure he can work some sort of deal with local business leaders to give them some sort of incentive package should they invest in the Thrashers.

Kenneth Williams

May 16th, 2011
11:09 am

Well worded piece. I think the advice given here to just take a deep breath and watch how this unfolds can also to aplly to those here in Winnipeg. We certainly would love to see the NHL return here but most of us do not want to see it at the expense of another city losing their team.

There are still many twists and turns in this story.

Atlanta Flames Fan

May 16th, 2011
11:10 am

@Smoothie

Alot of this stuff does not make sense to me either. Here is an explanation from Mike Ozanian of Forbes.

http://blogs.forbes.com/mikeozanian/2011/05/09/nhl-should-let-coyotes-go-to-winnipeg-and-keep-thrashers-in-atlanta/

“… Given that the Coyotes are losing much more money than the Thrashers, why would the NHL want the Coyotes to stay and let the Thrashers go? Presumably it is because of the $195 million total ($170 million purchase price plus $25 million from Glendale) the NHL would not get to keep much net of its $140 million purchase price of buying the team out of bankruptcy and to absorb losses. But of the $170 million price for the for the Thrashers, only $110 million would go to the current owners, Atlanta Spirit LLC, while the NHL would get $60 million as a relocation fee.”

moe

May 16th, 2011
11:14 am

I don’t know what Gary would do, but I know what Todd Macllellan shouldn’t have done last night. One of the big mistakes was replacing Jason Demers. He had 2 goals and one assist going into the game, he could have made a big difference. Instead, the coach sticks in a player (Huskins) that hasn’t played since February, cold and not used to the playoff intensity at all…

Mr. Heat Miser

May 16th, 2011
11:18 am

It boggles the mind how many people feed off of Ecklund’s speculation. The guy just speculates and rehashes. But the silence from the big poo-bahs is becoming deafening………
#POMPOM

ZAvalanche

May 16th, 2011
11:33 am

@ Moe – my sentiments exactly. My guess is he is injured. They may have listed him as a healthy scratch but we all know how injury reporting in the NHL goes. Too bad the city of Atl cannot afford what Glendale did with the Yotes. How about Alpharetta, Marietta, Smyrna, Duluth, Sandy Springs, Decatur etc. Pull in $$ from the other townships to keep the team there. I just don’t see it happening. It seems to me that keeping hockey, in the long run, it will take an investment but the dividends will pay of in the terms of tax revenue. I also think it will hurt the city badly if Thrashy leaves. I don’t know if there are any Hawks fans here but they should be hoping that Thrashy stays in Atl – otherwise whoever owns the Hawks is going to have to pony up the $$ to pay for the building, thus lowering the ability to buy quality players.

Badger Bob

May 16th, 2011
11:41 am

Wasn’t sure where Blogmaster would go with WWGD. Other thoughts:

What Would Glendale Do? Subsidize! Lord know ATL subsidizes worse, less worthy things, so why not hockey? Besides, I don’t pay taxes in ATL…
What Would Gearon Do? Lie to the fans, do a backroom deal to sell the team, then sue the new owners for not paying enough…
What Would Goodell Do? Undoubtedly a better job than Bettman.

Dwayne

May 16th, 2011
11:45 am

The owner of the other fanchises will step up and help Atlanta as long as we keep wadell as president, ramsey as coach, let Ladd walk and move tiny time to the first line. Where else will thier team get an easy victory every time?

ZAvalanche

May 16th, 2011
11:50 am

No game tonight, what the hell am I going to do? Guess it is cleaning time.

glovesave29

May 16th, 2011
11:51 am

All right, I can hold off any longer. Bill asks WWGD, which OBVIOUSLY means What Would Glovesave29 do?

Rest easy Atlanta, I would keep the team here. I would also give the Coyotes a HARD deadline of 1 Jan 2012 or they go back to Winnipeg. I also move the Islanders to Quebec City. The NYC market is waaaay over saturated as only the Rangers draw well.

ZAvalanche

May 16th, 2011
11:53 am

@ Glove – LOL!

Atlanta Flames Fan

May 16th, 2011
12:08 pm

mayorreed@atlantaga.gov

Recently you have addressed the issue of the possibility of the Atlanta Thrashers leaving our fair city. In your remarks, you mentioned that there is no possibility of Atlanta attempting to arrange for a subsidy similar to the $25M subsidy that the Glendale AZ government is providing to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale. I commend you for your stance; taxpayer money should not be used in this manner.

However, there is an issue that I believe that should concern you; that the NHL is not dealing with Atlanta fairly due to a conflict-of-interest. The NHL in recent years has gone to great lengths to protect the “Covenant with the fans” in order to keep other teams from relocation. Efforts were used to keep teams in Nashville, Tampa, Raleigh, Buffalo, and most recently Phoenix.

The effort in Phoenix is what should concern you. Last year, the NHL became the owners of the Phoenix Coyotes. They have been trying to sell them to an owner willing to keep the team in Glendale. Last year the Coyotes lost $40, of which the league covered $15. Recently, the NHL thought that they had a buyer for the team. However, the deal collapsed when a local public watchdog group, the Goldwater Institute, threatened to sue over the transactions use of public bonds. So, the league ended up being stuck with the team for another year, and will lose at least another $15M.

This is where Atlanta comes into the story. A company in Winnipeg, Manitoba named True North Sports wants to buy the Atlanta Thrashers and move them to Winnipeg. Just a few months ago, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reiterated his “Covenant with the fans” of Atlanta, stating everything would be done to prevent the team from leaving. However, last week Mr. Bettman’s attitude did not seemed to be different, making it appear that everything has been done to try to save Atlanta. Why has everything changed so quickly.

Speculation is that the NHL is not going to give Atlanta the same opportunity to save our team as has been done for others is because the league will receive a $60M relocation fee if the Thrashers move. And with the NHL losing $15M/year operating the Coyotes, they want the relocation fee to recoup their losses in Phoenix.

Mr. Mayor, I urge you to publicly challenge Mr. Bettman to stand up for the fans in Atlanta like he has done in other cities, and demand that he not use a relocation fee of the Thrashers in order to cover the NHL’s losses in Phoenix.

I believe that Mr. Bettman’s actions are an insult to Atlanta and should not be tolerated.

Atlanta Spirit Sucks

May 16th, 2011
12:10 pm

Sage, we need your support…you should love this site about how the Spirit Clowns and their cast of General Managers have screwed up the Thrashers, Hawks, and the Arena.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Atlanta-Georgia/Atlanta-Spirit-Sucks/114671988618038

moe

May 16th, 2011
12:32 pm

@ZAvalanche You’re right, could be that Demers injured instead, will have to monitor the situation on Wednesday. The games are so close these days, overtime and 1 goal games, every little bit makes a difference now.

Atlanta Flames Fan

May 16th, 2011
12:39 pm

You can use this link to contact your congressional representative.
https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

Cornbread

May 16th, 2011
1:04 pm

As always, a voice of reason and hockey knowledge, unlike say the AJC’s Atlanta Thrashers beat writer. It’s no wonder why this blog is always more popular than another’s.

Bill is right: Video: It is NOT the fans in ATL

May 16th, 2011
1:09 pm

It does all come down to Mr. Bettman, and maybe more importantly, the other NHL owners. Any sale has to be approved. Our best hope is that the NHL sees what Bill has outlined above. Sharing on facebook, forwarding, tweeting, emailing a link to this video can help get the word out.

http://www.keepthethrashers.com/videokeepthrashersreally.html

We will post a link to Bill’s good work on the Keep The Thrashers FB page.

canuckaruckus

May 16th, 2011
1:22 pm

Did the move yet…. thanks a lot. That link made milk shoot out of my nose!

Matt from MN

May 16th, 2011
1:25 pm

It’s OVER. http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-thrashers/atlanta-spirit-true-north-947628.html.

You have no idea the kind of language I’ve just uttered. I am beyond depressed.

Never again will we be able to watch the most awesome game, NHL hockey. Crap.

ZAvalanche

May 16th, 2011
1:40 pm

That makes me sad.

Brett

May 16th, 2011
1:44 pm

WWGD — He’ll take the $60m and run. Atlanta is being sacrificed to keep PHX afloat! Now that it’s come out that ASG is in negotiations with True North it just a a matter of time before the relocation announcement is made! I guess the4 ASG couldn’t find a local buyer who was stupid enough to purchase the Thrashers under their terms. The ASG will have the last laugh at our expense! The NHL will not be coming to our rescue!! Thanks Gary!

Gary Bettman is a $60M WH0RE

May 16th, 2011
1:50 pm

Gary Bettman is a $60M WH0RE

moe

May 16th, 2011
1:55 pm

Very sad news indeed. I was in Winnipeg once in late January, -39 degrees fahrenheit. I walked outside for less than 5 minutes and my nose froze to a point where the tip would have snapped off if I hadn’t found a convenience store to thaw….

Barb

May 16th, 2011
2:02 pm

If the team is moved, I would like Gary Bettman to explain to my kids, and the other loyal kids of Blueland, why the NHL sat by and let their team be taken away. So many little hearts will be broken.

Bye bye thrashers

May 16th, 2011
2:12 pm

The Thrashers are leaving one way or another. The only thing keeping them in Atlanta was the thought that Phoenix was moving to Winnipeg. Now that they’re not… unless an angel investor appears that is willing to keep the team in Atlanta, it’s over folks.

EA

May 16th, 2011
2:17 pm

Nothing has changed. Bettman has to approve ANY sale. As Rawhide said, he is one that will make the final decision.