hockey night in Atlanta

Hockey came up during the Meetup (which was great fun!) and in recent weeks I’ve seen two different friends wearing Thrashers jerseys. So I read with interest this analysis of where all NHL teams, including the Thrashers, stand in the wake of the NHL season’s cancellation:

On the ice, GM Don Waddell has a done a good job of putting together a young nucleus that should grow into a contender. Off the ice, not enough people care about hockey in Atlanta (21st in attendance last season at 15,121, which was 81.5 per cent of arena capacity). A wiped-out season will only intensify that. Verdict: Given the new ownership group runs the NBA club and the (debt-ridden) arena as well, the owners will do all they can to keep hockey dates in the rink because they need them.

I know next to nothing about the Thrashers’ new owners, but this seems to me a reasonably accurate assessment. (The article goes on to speculate that while the Canadian teams will survive, the Mighty Ducks, Panthers, and Caps will fold, and the Predators, Penguins, and Coyotes are in trouble.) Unlike the happy predicament in which Arthur Blank finds himself, the Mysterious Cabal have bought one new team with a small but loyal fan base, one long-established team with a shrinking fan base (seriously, Hawks fans, speak up), and one arena nobody likes. I’ve been to Philips a couple times, and it’s fun for hockey games but bland overall. (And an awful venue for an REM concert.)

Another problem the Cabal will face: even once the Thrashers are back, why go downtown when you can spend less and have more fun at a Gwinnett Gladiators game?

1 Comment so far

  1. Greg (unregistered) on February 17th, 2005 @ 6:26 pm

    I’ve only been to Philips Arena once (preseason Hawks game against Miami Heat) and I thought it was a pretty nice set up, course, it was no where near full so parking was a breeze and there was no rush to leave after the final buzzer…

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