|Thrashers Rally/Courtesy: Hyosub Shin ajc.com|
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 Atlanta Thrashers fans gathered near Philips Arena to show their support, remember the good times and to all-but-confess that their days are numbered.
As most of you know, the team is in the process of being sold and the acknowledged front-runner to buy the woebegone franchise, is planning on moving them to Winnipeg, Canada. It's been the cause of much celebrating in Winnipeg, and much commiserating in Atlanta.
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Brother Jon was at this event and hopefully will file a story sometime today on it. All we'll add from the Northern Bureau is that its a sad, sad day. We really feel bad for the fans of Atlanta, of which there are more than you think.
They weren't the problem. Never were. When the team showed signs of success early on...people showed up, in droves. We saw it with our own two eyes. A weekend game in January in say 2003, 2004 or 2005, you could bank on 15,000 or so in the house. A legit 15,000.
But as the years progressed and the Atlanta Spirit stopped spending money on the team, the apathy grew. Atlanta is a weird Sports town, always has been. People will come if they think there is a chance for success. But if not, they won't. Though Heir Bettman (Gary) says "It's a weird way to show support", it wasn't, it was more a way of showing disdain for the way the team was run.
It's truly a shame nobody in Atlanta was willing to step in and take over the team. Because we know full well there are people there who could. But, we suppose what's done is done, and we'll move on.
We wish the Thrashers and/or whatever they'll be named in Winnipeg the best of luck. We wish the hockey fans of Atlanta the same thing. And though it isn't "NHL" hockey, just remember, you do still have some professional hockey in town, even if it is the ECHL. They live about 30-minutes outside downtown, in Duluth. They would be the Gwinnett Gladiators.
Here's the TV story on the rally from our friends at 11Alive: