Last weekend the Atlanta Thrashers held their annual Select A Seat event at Philips Arena. Many fans here and across the NHL world saw this as little more than a farce in light of the news that the team could be stripped from Georgia and jettisoned to Manitoba.
As you’ll recall, I made a request of the current team owners to call off the event if the deal was in fact “done” and it simply is a matter of time before an announcement is made. I opined here that I firmly believed the Atlanta Spirit was simply looking for cover, knowing the turnout would be held down given the circumstances and they could then point to that as reason why they have “no choice” but to sell to TNSE. Thus, asked them to “do the right thing” by canceling it if they knew for a fact what so many here suspect, that the team is indeed gone.
Yeah, I know. Asking the most disingenuous and apathetic ownership cluster in professional sports to do the right thing is much like asking politicians to run a campaign free of mud slinging and personal attacks distorting their opponent’s record… but I figured it was at least worth a shot, eh?
But they have yet another opportunity for the Spirit Boys do right by the hockey fans in Thrasherville, if the end is near for NHL hockey here. And it would be something that wouldn’t even affect the wallets of the AS, LLC to do.
Randy Novak penned this open letter to the Atlanta Spirit, LLC and posted it up at Bird Watchers Anonymous. In it, Novak makes but one simple request here of the owners… he wants to see Dan Snyder’s #37 jersey officially retired.
“My purpose today is to plead with you to do at least one right thing in this transaction for the fans. It’s not something that’s going to cost you much, if any, money, but it is something that will build some goodwill with the Hockey community in Atlanta.
Before you sign on the bottom line and send the team to Winnipeg, I plead with you to retire Dan Snyder’s # 37 jersey and ask that the league and the new owners honor this retirement when the team relocates.”
Novak’s request and his delivery is, in my opinion, spot on. Regarding the Snyder situation and the possible retirement of his number, there is no need to rehash the “whats” and “what ifs” surrounding the current ownership situation. There have been pointing of fingers in blame leading up to this, and there will be more in days to come should the team make it’s way to Winnipeg.
But in the spirit of decency, respect, honor and dignity, this is something the AS, LLC should not just give serious consideration to, it is something they should do and announce immediately. If they do, then I know all of us will stand as one and applaud such a gesture to Snyder and his family.
Even though no one has worn the #37 jersey for the Thrashers since Snyder’s untimely death just prior to the 2003-04 season., the organization has opted to not officially retire it and hang it from the rafters. The only time the subject was even remotely addressed by the team since was when Rich Peverley was picked up off the waver wires in January of 2008. While playing with the Nashville Predators he wore #37 but chose to use #47 when informed of his former number’s significance here.
So once again, Atlanta Spirit, you have been shown how to do the right thing here in regards to the team and it’s fans. We anxiously await your response.