Do the right thing, Atlanta Spirit…for once

This weekend was already expected to be a very busy one for my family and I. Tomorrow my youngest tax exemption’s JROTC academic team will compete for the national championship, Sunday is his graduation baccalaureate and after that is over we’ll motor down to Savannah. We head there for a college campus tour scheduled for Monday, after which we will make our way back home that evening.

He then graduates Thursday morning, so as you can see this is a very busy time in my household.

I tell you this for a couple reasons. 1). This is why I will not be able to join you all tomorrow at the tailgate party put together by my good friend “Kracker” and, 2). Because of the news that broke last night in the Globe and Mail, I wanted to give you forum to discuss this as the story unfolds over the weekend.

As I’m sure you all have read by now, in the latest twist and turn of this roller coaster ride known as The Thrashers Relocation Saga, last night Stephen Brunt of The Globe and Mail reported that the Atlanta Thrashers were indeed moving to Winnipeg. Brunt says this deal was approved by the NHL board of directors months ago.

“…sources in Winnipeg suggest that the Thrashers had in fact been the primary target of potential owners Mark Chipman and David Thomson all along, and that some months back, the NHL board of governors quietly approved the sale and transfer of the team, pending the negotiation of a purchase agreement between Atlanta Spirit LLC, the Thrashers’ owners, and True North.”

As expected, the league and TNSE as well as other sources quickly refuted this story setting in motion yet another round on the ”Thrashers are moving…no they’re not…yes they are…no they’re not…” roller coaster.

But given the timing, and that this news leak doesn’t come from an internet-based site created solely for the distribution of fabricated stories, I have to say I think this one could pass the smell test.

I mentioned timing because this Saturday at Philips Arena is the scheduled Select A Seat event in which fans are invited down to pick out season tickets and/or simply locate where the seats are that they’ve already ordered. Representatives of the Atlanta Spirit sales and marketing department will be on hand to take your orders.

However, with news breaking that the team is quite probably heading to Winnipeg…leaving Thrashers fans out in the cold…it isn’t hard to imagine that there won’t be a lot of people making their way to Philips to fork over money in exchange for tickets to games that may or may not take place.

And I’m quite sure there will be TV cameras on hand to record this to beam back to points north of the border.

See, if in fact the report in the G&M is accurate, then that means the NHL, TNSE and the greatest cluster flop of an ownership group ever to have been planning this relocation for months and this whole tap-dance of sending Don Waddell out to find possible buyers to keep the team in town has been a shame…and they need cover.

Also making the “timing” here interesting to me is the reports and whispers I’ve been hearing that those in charge of such things have already bugun the inventory, bagging and clearing out of all things hockey related down at Philips Area earlier this week.

So, if you were planning on scooting down to the SAS event or the tailgate gathering of fans I would urge you to continue to do so. Go have a great time with friends and fellow fans…looks like the weather will perfect for it.

But go prepared willing to get your face in a camera and politely let the world know what you think of this situation and the Atlanta Spirit, LLC… the Great Octocluster. Make signs if you wish and give the cameramen something worthwhile to put on video.

Don’t be rude…don’t be vulgar…don’t represent Thrasherville in a negative light. But let the hockey community know what you truly feel and who is directly responsible for the possible loss of this team here.

Finally, to the members of the AS, LLC I make this challenge. If the reports are true and you have been plotting and scheming for months to rip this franchise from this community, then cancel the Select A Seat event scheduled for tomorrow. Do not continue this ruse…this deception…this scam …this tease one day longer. Do not accept a single dollar for tickets to games for a season you know will not happen in Atlanta.

In short, do the decent, honorable and upright thing…for once…and let the fans know today the truth of the situation. Don’t give an eager media looking to depict the turnout misrepresent the reality of the situation.

That way, you can at least say you were up-front and honest with us if even just this once in your disastrous seven years as owners…and Saturday afternoon can be a time of support, remembering and good-byes for those who plan on gathering at the Gulch.

Somehow, given the history, I’m not holding my breath that the honorable thing will be done by the Atlanta Spirit, LLC, (Lies, Lawsuits and Contempt).

352 comments Add your comment

BluelandBeliever

May 20th, 2011
9:13 am

Zoomo

May 20th, 2011
9:14 am

They are not capable of doing a “decent, honorable and upright thing”

hockeymom92

May 20th, 2011
9:15 am

Honorable and upright AND AS, LLC do not belong in the same sentence. I really think I need to up my blood pressure medicine.

On a completely separate topic – congrats to all those graduating this spring and of course the parents that support them!

Puck Like A Porn Star

May 20th, 2011
9:15 am

Third!! Screw ASG!!

AThrasherfan13

May 20th, 2011
9:20 am

And of course many thanks to the elected leadership in the City of Atlanta for their voice and efforts to keep the team here. Downright shameful that nothing was said or done to keep the team here. I sincerely hope that they will be able to un-glue their hands from their collective a$$e$ when this is all said and done. Oh, and one other question……how many season ticket packages for the Atlanta Hawks were given up to the those elected officials in return for not rocking the boat Thrashers boat?

Joe Friday

May 20th, 2011
9:20 am

This has all been orchestrated. The plan is to use Saturday for the Spirit, Waddell, and the NHL to say “see, no one showed up, that’s why we’re moving the team”.

Please save your and our dignity, you’re playing into their hands if all 55 or 79 or you go down to the gulch . . . no one should show up Saturday, instead we need to organize a bigger and better event to call for boycotts of the Hawks, all events at Philips, and the NHL. Do it in Centennial Olympic Park and we need a media leader on this (not Kincade, what little credibility he ever had is far gone). 10,000 show up at Centennial Olympic Park and call for boycotts of Philips and the Hawks and also the NHL going forward, and let’s hit these guys back where it hurts. It’ll kill their chances of selling Philips and the Hawks, or at least greatly reduce the sales price they get.

You want war, Spirit Squad? You got it. Hell hath no fury like a hockey fan scorned.

HonkyTonkHero

May 20th, 2011
9:22 am

Its a shame that none of our representatives have said a peep about this. The City of Atlanta is silent. The Chamber of Commerce is silent. We were blindsided and sold down the river by the league and the ASG. I even question the legality of whats going on here. However, in the end it is a millionaires game and I merely one of the sheeple.

It makes me extremely sad to think I will never set foot in the bulb to watch some NHL hockey again. I have had some wonderful moments with my kiddos and friends. With my hockey team leaving and Gorins going out of business the world might as well end on Saturday (just kiddking…somewhat).

I hope my lament is for nothing but I agree with Rawhide…this one is passing the smell test. Just sounds like info got leaked sooner than the parties would have liked. Oh well.

DWTOO

May 20th, 2011
9:23 am

Ah well. RH you ruined the Knights thread I was trying to start. Trying to remember a better day. There are so many rumors, innuendo, etc. floating around one doesn’t what to believe – except that the ASG are scum and none of these rumors would surprise me if proven true. Just going to wait this out and hope for the best.

Think my SAS time is 1:30 or so, but, we have no intention of putting up money until this is resolved. Don’t trust them to refund my money.

Anyone remember the Milwuakee Admirals once had a goalie by the name of Dufus (or very similar spelling). Was the best goalie chant ever! Whole areana yelling DUFUS, DUFUS. Think Gearon stood up and took a bow.

Tom Lysiak

May 20th, 2011
9:28 am

All this and I got Ranalloed too…

Love seeing Levenson on Fox-5 just now, in a recent interview saying “My job is to try to find a buyer that will buy the team and keep it here in Atlanta. And, that’s what I have been working on.” to Ken Rodriguez. Now the reports are saying this deal was done months ago. If proven, I hope the news media exposes every detail and throws these sound bytes in all their faces. Bettman too.

JW

May 20th, 2011
9:30 am

Here here – Ice Man,

Let this cruel game be over with and let WPG choke on the feathers of our birds. I wish all the players all the best and may they all add thier names to the CUP. Just do it in any other city then WPG.

GRITS and Pucks

May 20th, 2011
9:31 am

I am going to be there. I am also going to be wearing the save the Thrashers Tee that is on my blog. I have been holding back the tears, but if the team really was sold and it’s not rumors any more, the water works will ensue. I hate that the Atlanta Spirit is so opposite of what it’s name says it is.

ukyo(ths)

May 20th, 2011
9:32 am

It’s been a good ride and I’ll miss the Thrashers. Here’s a funny thought: How do you become a millionaire hockey owner in Winnipeg? Start off as a billionaire. You reap what you sow, and the NHL is making a knee jerk reaction to help offset the underhanded dealings of Jim Balsillie that drug the fragile NHL in to a situation it was not prepared for in Phoenix. The biggest shame of all is the fact that the NHL does not have the class to just own up and say it’s over. They have failed us all along. Why should they stop now? I guess that is asking too much. It’s hilarious that they seem to believe that they can grow the sport by making a move that equates to contraction. Why peddle the product to the sheep in a small pasture like Winnipeg? How does that grow the sport or make it more viable over all? It doesn’t. Of course, it’s too late for the league to open it’s eyes for Atlanta. And in 7 years when Winnipeg is tired of propping up the team after he new wears off, and the reality of 70+ million dollar salary caps sink in, the NHL had better not come begging us to take them back. Fool us once…

Whatever

May 20th, 2011
9:33 am

” Don’t be rude…don’t be vulgar…don’t represent Thrasherville in a negative light. ” ??? Are you kidding me ? Just look at the posts on this blog and CViv’s blog lately for the rudeness and vulgarity especially from the circle of posters (your buds) that have had all the answers these years with there immense hockey knowledge. But I must excuse Bendan since he does have the integrity, decency and respect which he has shown over and over even though he may disagree with a different view point and would never let himself be lowered to ” vulgaity & rudeness”.

hip czech

May 20th, 2011
9:34 am

From a post by the Nashville blogger on hockeybuzz:

Comments from Commissioner Bettman, on his show last night, included a comment that has to fire up the Thrasher fan base. “It will be interesting to see how many people show up at the rally on Saturday,” That’s a strong message to Atlanta hockey fans. Get your butt out to the rally in the Gulch on Saturday if you want to save your team. I can speak from experience… the summer rally in 2007 here in Nashville was a turning point that built momentum to keep the Preds in Nashville, much to Ken Campbell’s displeasure.

I can’t help but to think that some serious manipulation is going on here. Come out with the story on the Thursday before a Saturday rally to show support for Atlanta’s hockey team. It is a classic suppression move, we see it in politics all the time. A big turnout sends a message to potential local owners. It sends a message to the Atlanta media. A big turnout will also appear to send a message to the commissioner’s office as well. By getting this story out prior to the rally, you try to depress the turnout to help make your story true.

You don’t think an agenda is at work here do you? Nah… (sarcasm /off)

Atlanta fans, you have an opportunity… I’ve seen a few battles break out in the comment section of the AJC blogs that indicate a rift between fan groups… put aside your differences and get out there in numbers. It may be your last and only chance to show potential local buyers what your fans base looks like and how powerful it can be.

I am torn…part of me agrees with Joe Friday, part of me wants to do whatever it takes to keep the Thrash here.

I guess we should have realized we were in BIG trouble if Don Waddell was charged to find a local buyer….the last and greatest of his failures.

TableHockey

May 20th, 2011
9:34 am

Well it seems this saga is coming to a close – the only unfinished item left in the sale is how far the ASG has to bend over for the NHL. Personally I hope it’s as painful for them as being Thrashers fan has been for us.

As an unpaid writer for the AJC I’d like to thank you, Bill, for everything you’ve done for the Thrasher’s community!

Red Light

May 20th, 2011
9:35 am

Select-a-seat, a comfortable one at that, in front of your own HDTV at 1:30 and watch Game 4 of the Bruins and Lightning series. The town hall meetings, rallies, select-a-seat events, draft parties and mock outrages have been a complete failure at every turn. People talk about boycotts, holding up signs chastising Waddell and the ownership group and I know of just a few willing to do it on a regular basis, one in particular is R. Stroz.

Save your time, your energy and your passion for your children, your families and your friends. Wouldn’t be at all surprised if they tried to charge you for parking too. Lastly, the AHL isn’t coming here either. Reports suggest the Moose will relocate to Thunder Bay or St. John, Newfoundland. Better than select a seat in Gwinnett than to waste your time this weekend.

Jetsfan

May 20th, 2011
9:35 am

go jets! RIP thrashers this was a mistake to begin with with southern teams!

Red Light

May 20th, 2011
9:37 am

Should have been: Better to select a seat in Gwinnett than to waste your time this weekend.

T.J.

May 20th, 2011
9:39 am

The “mistake” was your father not pulling out…

Thomas Magnum

May 20th, 2011
9:41 am

Don’t the right thing and DON’T LET THE TEAM MOVE!

Red Light

May 20th, 2011
9:41 am

Alan R.

May 20th, 2011
9:43 am

“If it’s war they want, it’s war they shall get.”

Ward

May 20th, 2011
9:45 am

As with most hockey fans in our area, I am chagrined to think the sale and transfer of “our team” seems to be moving towards its conclusion ….in Winnepeg. Just looked up the ASG membership and have heard all the names before but did not fully realize that Serelean(Dalton carpets/Hawks), Seydel(Turner’s son-in-law), Beau Turner(Turner’s son) and J. Michael Gearon Sr.(Hawks) all have Ted Turner/Atlanta roots. It is a very logical and sad conclusion that these four key players with the other “business leaders–(politeness in the face of adversity) could certainly have seen a way to “stay” in Atlanta and be loyal, accountable and bastions of the issue over Thrash and his followers. The ASG dropped the puck bigtime by trusting Waddell for all these years. Ownership and leadership should be synonomous. Not here!!!! They, of course, probably viewed hockey and basketball differently from the beginning.

DWTOO

May 20th, 2011
9:46 am

Hey R/L since you’re paying attention what do you think about an A League team about three/four years down the line? Know it’s silly to think it would happen right now, but, what about in a few years?

As for wasting time – few beers in the Gulch never hurts. Maybe someone will show up with a TV.

GSU_Lee

May 20th, 2011
9:47 am

Bill,

You have been the best writer for the fans in this saga from day one. Just wanted to pass that along

Big and Little

May 20th, 2011
9:49 am

I just hope getting my money back for season tickets isn’t an act of Congress. We’ll miss you Thrashers, but I hope you lose in Winnipeg….

Sage of Bluesland

May 20th, 2011
9:50 am

For once, I agree with Joe-Bob-Friday-Revisionist-Historian….Whoever actually goes to the ’select-a-seat’ and gives this ownership group their money (of which interest will be generated prior the refund) needs to have their head examined.

It should be on a piece of paper which is redeemable only if the schedule indicates the games will be played in Atlanta.

It’s done, folks. The league office has significant culpability in this–whose ownership vetting process is in serious need of rehaul. Atlanta did not fail the Thrashers; the league, the ownership, and the management did.

Oh well, life goes on. It is what it is. To Don Waddell–who managed to keep drawing an exorbitant paycheck from the beginning to the end; he is the true face of this inept organization. To those who made excuse after excuse for him, too.

Oh well. I’ll be sure to laugh about it as I’ll never subsidize incompetence….

Lurker

May 20th, 2011
9:51 am

What? I fully expect A$G to hold the select-a-seat, rake in Thrasher money, pocket said Thrasher money, & then give all the fans rainchecks to a Hawks game.

Oh wait, Hawks will be locked out next season! (Rain checks will expire before 2012-2013 Hawks season).

Red Light

May 20th, 2011
10:00 am

DWTOO

Minor league teams are best left to minor league cities or suburbs. Frankly, I’m not sure Philips Arena is worth the hassle. I would definitely support Gwinnett’s caring group of owners and management for one day making the move up the ladder to the AHL, but would not advise someone else getting involved with it. Scars are simply way too plentiful to deal with the hassle of going downtown when free parking, etc. are available in Gwinnett.

Thrashersfan

May 20th, 2011
10:01 am

Rawhide>>>>>>>>>>>>Chris Viv

@Jetsfan

May 20th, 2011
10:01 am

Good luck when no one wants to own your team in five years and they leave again. Honestly, if Winnipeg hadn’t had a team before, would they be in the discussion for a team now? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Same with Quebec City. Those are two small markets that the NHL would have no interest in. There’s a reason why these teams moved.

How is there any corporate sponsorship up there? The arena is still a minor league. Even once they finish improving it, is the owner going to want to pony up to heavy losses to field a competitive team? There’s no way that Winnipeg is going to be anything better than mediocre as a team because that will be all that they can afford. Players won’t want to go there (You always hear about east and west Canada but nothing about the central – hmm, wonder why?). I won’t deny that fans will come out in droves to support the team but will they support a team that will be bad and never have a chance at a cup? What happens when the Canadian dollar goes back down compared to the US dollar? There’s no guarantee that it won’t! It’s only a matter of time when the Winnipeg Jets/Moose get moved somewhere else again and the fans will be crying a second time.

Toby

May 20th, 2011
10:02 am

Can’t believe they’re putting a team in a city the size of Macon with a highschool arena.

Season TIcket Holder

May 20th, 2011
10:02 am

I called the ticket office. Refunds will be issued in 30 days prior to the announcement of relocation–if there is one. Yeah right, if there is one. Anything else is fraud which we know this group is very fond of.

Tom Lysiak

May 20th, 2011
10:05 am

NHL = No Honor Left

Bettman, the ASG, the Board of Governors are all exactly the same. No wonder they approved the ASG initially. Nice fit for the good old boys club…..

The Commish

May 20th, 2011
10:06 am

ukyo(ths) … ” the NHL had better not come begging us to take them back ”

Trust me. The NHL will NEVER be coming back to Atlanta. 2 strikes and your out.

kar413

May 20th, 2011
10:07 am

I am w/out words about this whole situation….no, wait a minute, here are the words: lying, manipulative, conniving, duplicitous, cold-hearted, greedy, self-centered, egotistical, $#@%….and those are only the PG versions. Yes, Bettman and the ASG, you’ve earned yourself a new low in this Thrashers fan’s estimation. Play-offs? Who give a flying leap at this point?

Disgusted STH - of nothing

May 20th, 2011
10:08 am

Losing this team is embarrassing and looks horible for this city. For the 2nd time we can’t hold an NHL team when Nashville, Tampa, Miami and Raleigh could do so. The Atlanta mayor and our Governor should be ashamed for letting this happen……and the ASG can go choke on it. I hope they rot in hell. This is just horrible. Hope I get my money back within 30 or I’m going to sue the pants off those idiots. for those of you who decided to stay away the last few years, congrats, you got your wish. Enjoy the ECHL and enjoy the NBA. blech.

B. Thenet

May 20th, 2011
10:10 am

I hear Levenson and Gearon are going to be at the Select-a-Seat so they can tell children the Thrashers are moving, it makes them laugh.

DWTOO

May 20th, 2011
10:16 am

R/L – The AHL in Gwinnett sounds better all the time. We live 10 minutes from the Arena. And vehicle acccess is so much better. Too bad the Glads owners don’t have the money to buy the Thrashers. They appear to do a much better job at running a team. Of course any comparison with the ASG is not fair.

hockeygoon79

May 20th, 2011
10:16 am

I’ll add my name to those thanking BlogMaster for his efforts here over the years. Truly a lobor of love it most have been.

Don’t look for the AS(s) Clowns to “do the right thing” here. They will lie right to the end. It is what thay do it is what they are. They can all burn in hell.

Wienerpeg Trolls

May 20th, 2011
10:16 am

“Trust me. The NHL will NEVER be coming back to Atlanta. 2 strikes and your out.”

Do you mean to say “you’re out”? Must suck to be illiterate and a troll.

Tony C.

May 20th, 2011
10:17 am

For what it’s worth, if you need a ride to the event Saturday, give me a shout.

Also, while I understand the betrayal and constant disparagement from ownership has caused the general feeling of apathy-I say let’s show up and just raise hell-what’s the worst that happens? Cops tell us to calm down (which being smart people you should-they can be REALLY persuasive), we wait 20min then raise more hell, cameras record it, and maybe it puts just a little bit of the giant ostrich-sized egg Betteman and the FUBAS boys deserve on their faces.

We got shammed. I had sneaking suspiscion when #17 left and right about that same time we start hearing that WPG is eyeing moving the Thrashers “if they cannot get their dear, old franchise (Coyotes) back”….My cousin oipined that maybe once the NHL gets done paying for the ‘Yotes payroll with the $60M re-lo fee from true north that they may move to ATL-somehow I don’t see it, but man, that’d be delicious irony.

I’ve met a lot of you guys at the games, at the GIANT BEER corner, and at viewing parties and even once at the mall-truly great group of folks on this blog, and I would like to thank you all for your passion & comradeship. Truly, I know we held up our end of the “covenant” that Betteman mentioned a little while ago. I know I wasn’t the only working stiff who bought tickets, merchandise, brought n00bs to their first game & created fans, wore my throat out cheering our guys on. It’s a rotten shame that the ends justified the means for the league and FUBAS. We deserved better.

Oh, one more thing Mr. T I still have that “mailing list”-your call on if that’s made available on the blog or via email.

Hope the improbable happens and we have an NHL team in November 2015-if not, I say in not more than 5 years Kaner is lifting The Cup up yonder in tundra-ville.

The Commish

May 20th, 2011
10:21 am

Sorry, my Alabama education didn’t cover that.

Wienerpeg Trolls

May 20th, 2011
10:22 am

Ryan Bodman

May 20th, 2011
10:24 am

I am in Winnipeg, and extremely excited for this chance, but at the same time, I feel awful for you fans. I was 13 when the Jets left, and I remember standing on street corners with Save Our Jets signs. It sucked. I definatley feel for all of you, and I apologize for any of my fellow winnipeggers coming on your forums and dirting you. Best of luck guys!

Stan Drulia

May 20th, 2011
10:24 am

That is a great point – Atlanta just got bumped below Raleigh NC as far as a thriving metropolitan city. Thanks ASG… and thanks to the Atlanta mayor for making it clear that he could care less about the Thrashers. Good job making our city a joke.

SouthernFriedHockey

May 20th, 2011
10:25 am

This may be wishful thinking but I would think this would make for a great lawsuit. We all know how much ASG and the NHL love them. Wonder if it is possible…

Tony C.

May 20th, 2011
10:28 am

SkepticalJetsFan

May 20th, 2011
10:37 am

First, to the posters who correctly identified that both Winnipeg and Quebec have had teams moved in the past, good one – a bit Captain Obvious, but good one. But you neglect to mention that Atlanta once had a team, the Flames, who are now in Calgary since the early 80’s. The latter debunks your theory that a city that lost a team shouldn’t get one back. Simple.

Second, Phoenix is in a different situation for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is that the area NEEDS a tennant in their arena – Atlanta has shown that they most certainly do not.

Third, the Canadian dollar and CBA make Canuckistan more of a go than ever. I am not saying that it will always be this way but it’s WAY better a climate than 1995.

Fourth, Jim Balsille will never own a team in the NHL because he was disrespectful and upset the vast majority (I believe all but one) of the owners. Without the owners blessing you do not own a team.

I feel for the fans in Atlanta, I really do. I fondly recall the White Out’s in Winnipeg and the clashes between Montreal and Quebec, what Canadian wouldn’t want to see more of that? So, in my heart of hearts, I am a happy lad but at the same time I feel your pain because I witnessed it happen twice here (And a tip of the hat to Minnesota because it happened to a rabid fan base there as well) However, no amount of hand wringing, rallies and bake sales will save a team if the ownership group doesn’t want to have them. The best you can hope for is a Buffalo-esque potential owner coming in at the 11th hour to save the team, someone with DEEP pockets. Alas, I do not think that will happen. Buffalo has a hell of a lot going on for it compared to Atlanta when it comes to hockey operations and, most importantly, sponsorship, arena and fan base.

Having said all of this though, Canadians do not trust Gary Bettman as far as we could throw Dustin Byfuglien – I completely hope this happens but fully expect it to go tits up before Tuesday for some reason – not related to Atlanta bailing themselves out and providing stable ownership/arena/ticket sales.

If worst comes to pass for you in Atlanta you can trust that this Winnipeg fan will treat your team, and your fans, with respect – I ask you do the same for us

Sickdog

May 20th, 2011
10:37 am

They are going to hide behind the thought that “well, until every last paper was signed and made official, we had to continue on as usual in case it fell through in the end. And woe be to us if we cancelled the Select-a-Seat event and the Thrashers stayed in Atlanta. We just couldn’t do that to the fans we love so much and have done so much for over the years.”

Sorry… I think I just threw up in my mouth a little trying to type that last sentence.