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06-03-2011, 02:31 PM
Top 6 Spaling
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Posted this in the Atlanta forum, but it's just as relevant here.

For the last few years, I have played travel hockey out of Nashville. Some of the most anticipated trips of our year were the four hour trecks to Atlanta to face off against the Atlanta Fire, Atlanta Knights, Kennesaw Jr. Thrashers, and/or Duluth Jr. Thrashers. Partially because of its large population and partially because of the NHL presence, Atlanta was a consistent powerhouse of souther youth hockey.

With the departureof the Thrashers, what can be expected of these programs? Will Duluth and Kennesaw keep their Jr. Thrashers mascot? (the Southern Flyers out of Nashville kept their name from the Dixie Flyer days, so it has been done). Do you anticipate a large drop in participation? Just curious what the local opinions were. If any of these teams fold, they will be sorely missed in the southern travel scene.

Also, will a city with no NHL team be able to support The Cooler, The Marietta Ice Center, the Ice Forum, and....that other rink in Kennesaw....

For those who are unfamiliar with the southern youth hockey scene, which i would assume is most people as its not very prevalent, I'll go into a little more detail. The following figures are for A/AA travel.

Nashville: 2 major rinks, ~2 teams per age level
Knoxville: 1 major rink, 0-1 teams per age level
Memphis: 1 major rink, 0-1 teams per age level
Huntsville, AL: 2 Major Rinks, ~1 team per age level
Birmingham AL: 1 major rink ~1 team per age level
Greenville SC: 1 major rink 0-1 teams per age level
Little Rock, ARK: .5 major rink, 0-1 teams per age level
ATLANTA: 4 major rinks, 4-5 teams per age level

In many leagues, Atlanta accounts more than half of all of teams in each age group. Should half of the teams/rinks in Atlanta fold, it could spell disaster for southern youth hockey in more than just Georgia. Atlanta is relied on heavily to supply teams for these leagues, and this move puts the growth of hockey in the south in serious jeopordy.

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