31 May, 2011

The Way of the Flames…

Why the Thrashers need to make like the Flames and make like a Toronto Maple and leaf. Ok, all kidding aside, time to be serious. So the announcement comes out today that the city of Winnipeg (ok last joke, promise) has begun the process of purchasing the Thrashers to pull them back home to re-institute the Jets. This may or may not be a good thing, personally I was never a fan of the Jets and was a fan of the Thrashers ( highest rank: #4 on my list of teams) while Nashville was more of a favorite for me, Atlanta had more convenient access to games. Sadly, the Thrashers have not performed well since the loss of One-man-Team Superstar (Ily Kovalchuk) and Long-time Stanley Cup  hopeful (Hossa). They have simply performed, “just okay” in recent years.
Performance however is not the reason I believe that the Thrasher’s vacancy from Atlanta would be a good thing. As a fan of the Thrashers I do not want to see them leave Atlanta, that being said however, I think that the lack of enthusiasm for the team does strike a chord. Please don’t misunderstand me I don’t mean that no one in Atlanta or the surrounding areas but me is enthusiastic about the Thrashers though there is a general feeling of “eh” from most people I’ve had the pleasure of sitting near at games. The closer to the boards the better the reception to the team but for the most part my experience has led met to believe most people who go to Thrasher’s games are there as a social function. I’ve often kidded that you could ask any random person in Blueland what they think of Atlanta’s hockey team and you would get the response, “We have a hockey team?” My experiences in other barns has not been this way. Experiences in Nashville, for example, have been greatly more positive.
While Atlanta does have more hockey history than Nashville the differences between the markets is astounding. The first hockey game I took my wife to was a Penguins/Predators game and even being a long time Penguins fan I was fearful to actively pull for the Penguins because the overall sense of pride that Nashville has for their team is very overwhelming. While I do participate in the heckling, chanting and shouting of “Knights” during the National Anthem, Atlanta is missing home grown tradition. On the other hand, Nashville’s Cellblock 303, the catfish tossing – borrowed and modified tradition from the hooligans in Detroit, and the fight the Smashville community put up to keep the Predators there sing as a crescendo into what I feel will be a hockey club which will remain in good-standing and eventually will lead to new level of respect for the team, city and even south-eastern (US) hockey.
As stated previously, I do not want to see the Thrashers leave Blueland, but I can understand a positive vote to allow for relocation. I really enjoy being surrounded by hockey teams (Predators, Hurricanes and Thrashers) and while the loss of one of those teams would be sad for me, the NHL will go on, hockey in the South-East will go on and ultimately the world will keep spinning. While I hate that this would be looked at as a second failed attempt to bring NHL hockey to Atlanta maybe the next generation will be more receptive and proud to have a hockey team to call their own. Who knows, the next time the Coyotes come up for sale maybe Turner and Glavine  can purchase them and bring the Thrashers back to Blueland.

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