5 Reasons The Thrashers Should Relocate to Winnipeg

There are still four teams left in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but, hockey fans are already prepping for next season, especially if you live in Winnipeg. It’s been reported that the Atlanta Thrashers could be sold to the Winnipeg group True North Sports and Entertainment. While the deal hasn’t been finalized, because of a snag between the league and owners of the team the Atlanta Spirit, it appears that after fifteen long years the Winnipeg Jets could once again sharpen their skates. I for one, couldn’t be happier for Winnipeg, and the NHL, and here’s five reasons why.

5. Prove Gary Bettman Wrong

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has insisted that the league spread into every U.S. market. For hockey purists this has made him public enemy number one. During his tenure Bettman has added four expansion leagues into the league. Instead of keeping hockey’s core fan-base, Bettman seems more fixated on “quantity over quality” by placing hockey in places where people have never seen a puck before. Under Bettman’s reign there are now two teams in Florida, a team in Nashville and, through relocation, teams in North Carolina, Dallas and Phoenix. These franchises, with a few exceptions, are in places that haven’t embraced the sport and are struggling. By having the fledgling Thrashers relocate to Canada would prove to Bettman that not every U.S. city wants, or deserves, a NHL franchise.

4. Thrashers Have Been on the Market

The Atlanta Thrashers haven’t been doing too well, probably because Atlanta is a poor excuse for a sports town to begin with, but I digress. For numerous reasons it’s not that much of a shocker that the team’s owners have been trying to sell them. Last year there were rumors of a future sale to several markets without a NHL club. These included cities, like Seattle, where a NHL team could thrive. After-all, the Seattle Metropolitans were the first American hockey team to win the Stanley Cup in 1917. And, their loyal sports fans have made their Major League Soccer team the Sounders the role model for every other MLS team. Heck, way back in 2007 there were warning signs that the Thrashers weren’t going to make it in Atlanta. Long story short, the Thrashers are on the market and won’t be staying in that wasteland called Atlanta much longer.

3. Winnipeg Wants a Team

When the Winnipeg Jets played their last game on April 28, 1996, their die-hard fans were hoping that someday their beloved team would return. Their aspirations almost happened last year when it was reported that the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes were going to be sold to the same Winnipeg company that is proceeding with the Thrashers sale. This would have been a major victory since oddly enough the Coyotes are the relocated Jets. Unfortunately, Phoenix, which is now owned by the league, has at least managed to remain one more season in the dessert. Regardless, it’s crystal clear that Winnipeg wants another shot at having their own NHL team. Why else would some 400 people celebrate in the street when the story broke?

2. Atlanta Already Had Their Chance

From 1972 to 1980 Atlanta was home to a NHL team called the Flames. The Flames started off strongly, but eventually, fell apart by not making the playoffs, securing a major TV deal, and of course, lack of fan support. With no other option, the franchise was sold to Canadian businessman Nelson Skalbania and relocated to Calgary. The Calgary Flames have gone to win a Stanley Cup championship and become completely embraced by the city. The fans even started the “C of Red,” where they all wear red, which is awesome and intimidating to look at it. One a side note, it would be awesome to see that matched again by the “Winnipeg White Out”. OK, back to my point here, Atlanta just isn’t a hockey town, they had a chance with the Flames and are going to do it again with the Thrashers.

1. More NHL Teams in Canada

Hockey is Canada’s sport. The more teams in the Great White North the better for the league. That’s where the NHL belongs. Period.

Leave a Comment

  1. steve says:

    You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about regarding the sports/hockey situation in Atlanta.

  2. Adalbert says:

    That's interesting because this deal has gone down. Atlanta is again without a hockey team.