The Hamilton Spectator reported last week that a Vancouver-based group wanted to buy the Thrashers and move them to Ontario. Don Waddell, the team’s general manager, insists that cannot and will not happen, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t believe him.
Still, that got me to thinking: If the Thrashers left, would anybody miss them? (They ranked next-to-last among NHL teams in attendance, averaging 14,626 per home date.) So, via Twitter, I asked. And of 50 respondents, only four said they wouldn’t care if the Thrash went the way of the migratory Flames. A selected sampling:
John Bragg: “Aside from family, friends, and the basic necessities in life, there’s not much I wouldn’t trade to see Ilya [Kovalchuk] hoist the Cup in Philips.”
Chad Bryant: “This is like asking, ‘Would you miss your dog if it ran away?’ – except in this case, the dog is being stolen from you from rich and crazy Canadians.”
Catherine Olson: “I was born at Georgia Baptist Hospital in 1964. The myth that Southerners could not possibly like hockey kills me. I am so tired of every one assuming that all the hockey fans in Atlanta are transplants from up north. I am Southern and a hockey fan and better yet a Thrasher fan!”Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
Lance Blair: “Following them is my second religion and going to Philips is my second church. I’d miss the fans, the excitement, and the promise of the team’s bright future … If they left now I might consider moving to their new home.”
Pat DeSilva: “It takes character to be a Thrashers fan. It is not for everyone, but we Thrashers fans would like to see the base group grow and it will as the team continues to improve. There is currently plenty of room on the bandwagon.”
Barry Tennihan: “I hate to admit it but I would not really lose any sleep if they left town. It would be a negative for the city since we try show that Atlanta is a ‘major league town.’ Unfortunately, most of the blame would have to go on the backs of the owners (or the Seven Stooges).”
Jeffrey T. Cape: “I wouldn’t miss the Thrashers a bit if they moved. I will admit that attending a Thrashers game in person is a lot of fun – even if I don’t fully grasp all the rules and nuances of hockey – but outside the arena I have no interest in them. I can’t explain why this is so, but I don’t follow them, wouldn’t miss them.”
Debbie Ott: “My kids are getting older but the one thing we all still enjoy is getting together and attending Thrasher games … I definitely would not be going downtown and spending a trainload of my discretionary income any more if the guys weren’t there.”
Brett Williams: “I’d be furious and empty. As a native Minnesotan and huge hockey fan and player, it was hard to survive prior to the Thrashers’ arrival. If they left, I’d be like a fish out of water – flipping and flopping and trying to figure out how to survive.”
Billy Lindahl: “I’m willing to cheer for the fourth-worst team in the league every year just to see them every season.”
Chris Bennett: “I wear the Michael Myers mask [at home games]. I would be very disappointed if the Thrashers left. I am a born and raised Atlantan, third generation in fact … Thrasher wins make my days a little better as much as losses make them a little worse.”
Yes, the Thrashers qualify as a niche sport, but it’s a vibrant niche that makes our city that much nicer. We would be diminished if they weren’t around. I mean, you don’t have to go to the High Museum 41 times a year, but isn’t it nice to know it’s there?