Pending an approval vote by the NHL’s Board of Governors on June 21, the new owners of the Atlanta Thrashers will move the team north, WAY NORTH to Winnipeg. Atlanta has become the first city in the NHL's modern era to lose two hockey teams. Interestingly enough, both Atlanta teams have relocated to cities in Canada.
I'll be honest, I feel bad for the Thrashers fans out there. Sure, they've never been considered a good team, they lost one of their young prospects in a car accident which caused another young prospect to ask for a trade out of Atlanta. Marion Hossa eventually got his wish and was shipped out of town and Ilya Kovalchuk turned down a very large contract and also was eventually shipped out of town. Hockey and Atlanta really never took off. Look at the names that have once played in an Atlanta Thrashers uniform. Dany Heatley, Marion Hossa, Marc Savard, Ilya Kovalchuk, Kari Lehton, Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd to name a few. The problem hasn't been the players on the team, the problem has always been management. The Thrashers have never had an owner and a GM operating on the same page and at the end of the day, it is the city of Atlanta and its fans that loses.
Look at the Tampa Bay Lightning. They've finally gotten an owner and a GM working together and they've turned that team around quickly. Every team in the NHL can learn from the Lightning. In a salary cap era, the guys who run the team are critical to the success of that team. Yes it takes the right players but it takes the right owner allowing his GM to make moves and having his coaches back who in turn is allowed to get the best out of his players. It is not a complicated cycle to understand, yet it never happened in Atlanta.
Like I said, I feel bad for the fans of Atlanta. They've lost their hockey team and in my opinion, they did so for some pretty bad reasons. Winnipeg can celebrate as it looks like they are getting a second chance and having the NHL in town. Hopefully for them it goes better than it did for Atlanta but there is a part of me that just doesn't think any hockey fan can really celebrate over a team failing, whatever positive comes from it.
We are interested, what are your feelings?