PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 12: Andrew Ladd #16 of the Atlanta Thrashers celebrates his game tying goal in the final minute of the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers with teammate Radek Dvorak #20 on March 12, 2011 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Thrashers defeated the Flyers 5-4 in overtime. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
The Toronto Globe and Mail is reporting the Atlanta Thrashers, current property of the Atlanta Spirit ownership group, will be sold to True North Sports & Entertainment, with an announcement of a relocation to Winnipeg, Manitoba coming Tuesday.
We won't expend keystrokes discussing here what presumably led to this situation (leave it in the comments), but suffice to say I personally feel a strong kinship with the Thrashers Faithful after I - and so many other loyal, paying customers - lost the Hartford Whalers 14 years ago. That was a far different scenario, featuring an ownership group who purchased the club with the purpose of eventual relocation, but regardless of details, the sting remains the same.
I've always said that if a relocation was absolutely necessary, sending a franchise to a city which previously lost one was the only route to travel. Now that it is happening, I freely admit those were easy words to pimp. I'm thrilled Winnipeg gets another shot at life in the "bigs", but so many good people - just like us: kids, parents, local hockey programs, and just plain fans - are being left out to dry after a decade of ownership squabbles, complete mismanagement, and a total lack of understanding of the Atlanta market. The Greater Miami region may be similar in several respects, but even the Panthers can rely on folks sidling in from Toronto and Montreal; that was never the case at Philips Arena.
There is so much I wish to say in defense of the fans that summarizing simply isn't practical.
Hats Off to those in the 'Peg who kept the faith since 1996; I've been there, and know first-hand the pain involved in losing the heart and soul of your existence (such as it was).
A terrible day for hockey fans south of the northern border. The NHL groomed, teased, and shat on fans in Georgia and surrounding environs. This sucks on so many levels.
Lots more reaction from our very good friends at Bird Watchers Anonymous here.