As a native St. Louisan it may come as a surprise to others, or may be hard to wrap their brains around it, but I have every intention to do what I can to keep the Atlanta Thrashers in Atlanta. Yeah, think about that for a few minutes – I’m sure you’ll still be confused as to why, especially as a Blues fan, I’d want them around. I’ll list a few reasons as to why and include ways for you to be proactive in keeping them in Atlanta, and how to be a Thrashers advocate without being a diehard Thrashers fan – because it’s all about the game and love of/for hockey.
I’ve seen friends, neighbors and the like move throughout the course of my life, and like to think that I can’t possibly be the only one. Upon saying goodbye to these people who have moved I’ve found that a good portion of them have been moved to Atlanta – typically for business or family members jobs moving them, promoting them – things of an economic and work nature. Now, not every one of these people have been huge hockey fans or even knew what the sport really was, however, those that did know either rooted for their hometown Blues from nearly 600 miles away, or grew to adapt with the Thrashers who were founded in 1999.
Upon the Thrasher’s foundation 11 years ago the phrase “Hockey doesn’t work in the South” was abound, floating everywhere, and is still uttered today despite the inflation of USA Hockey’s Southeast membership from 4,000 members to over 60,000 since the expansion of the NHL to the Southeast (obviously including the Thrashers). The Thrashers aren’t stupid, either, as they know they didn’t have a “hockey town mentality” and aimed their marketing campaign to all walks of life, to get butts in seats, to please their consumer – and many times they made it work. One of the Thrasher’s bigger names, who came to them via Stanley Cup winners Chicago Blackhawks, Dustin Byfuglien recently signed an extension with the Thrashers and has said that he enjoys the trust placed in him by the Thrashers organization, who has given him the chance to realize his potential as a leader for the team. [More after the jump...]