The Future of Hockey in the Southeast
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06-09-2011, 08:22 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: North Shore, MA
It's a shame that Atlanta has now lost two NHL teams (Flames and Thrashers). With the Thrashers' move to Winnipeg it seems that the region has lost a major sponsor to youth hockey.
Atlanta, like Phoenix, is a tough place to build a fan base. The biggest problem, aside from the heat and the expense of keeping a rink frozen, is that both cities host several pro franchises so there's serious competition for corporate support. I have no idea what Atlanta's attendance records are but I've heard time and again that luxury boxes are essential to provide enough revenues to fund an NHL team. You've got the Hawks, Braves, Falcons and Thrashers all competing for a share of the pie. You've got a recession, so the pie is smaller than usual. You've got the Thrashers with a poor competitive record -- only four playoff games to their credit since the team's inception. I don't think it's the fans' fault and it's not that hockey can't succeed in the hot weather. But I think it's a difficult place to host a hockey team and Don Waddell was NOT the guy to run a successful NHL team.
So corporations help to fund an NHL team and the NHL team helps to fund youth hockey in the area. Maybe there's a way for Atlanta youth hockey to get corporate sponsorship (since the middle man went to Winnipeg)?
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