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Hockey still lives in Atlanta

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03-05-2012, 03:01 PM
  #1
GwtGlads2013
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Hockey still lives in Atlanta

I hope the mods don't mind this. It is a note that I wrote last night on Facebook and would like to get it out to any Thrasher fan who still might hang around here.


The city of Atlanta and its surrounding metropolitan area have experimented with the sport of hockey on and off again since the mid 1970s and to put it mildly it hasn't been the best of times. With the still fresh in the mind departure of the Atlanta Thrashers many fans probably feel like it is just time to throw in the towel. Let me start off by saying I share in the frustration,anger and downright betrayal of how the whole situation went down between the Atlanta Spirit Group and the NHL. We as fans to this day feel like we were given a bitter pill and told to swallow it without anything to wash it down. The Thrashers leaving certainly isn't my first experience with hockey going elsewhere in this city as I was only 10 when the Atlanta Knights packed their bags for Quebec after the 1995-1996 season and, while the ending of the Thrashers and Knights were major disappointments I have nothing but very fond memories of attending games at the Omni and then Phillips Arena.



With that said the good news is that hockey is still here and it comes in the form of the ECHL Gwinnett Gladiators. The Gladiators have been in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth since the 2003-2004 season and have missed the playoffs just twice since they arrived. The current team sits atop the Eastern Conference with 77 points after sweeping their 3 game weekend series against Trenton and South Carolina and the team has 5 remaining home games in the regular season as they are pushing for a top playoff spot. The Gladiators have generally been among the top 5 in attendance in the ECHL and play in the largest arena in the league known as the Arena at Gwinnett Center. Many will say "but its not the NHL" I agree it isn't but, this team truly has a never say die attitude as they came back from a 4-1 deficit to win 5-4 over the Trenton Titans today. With 5 home games left I encourage any Thrasher fan who hasn't yet been to go check out the Gladiators as the team could certainly use the support and most of the games are on the weekend so rush hour traffic won't be a worry. The Thrashers along with the Knights and Flames will always have a special place in our hearts but, I think we can certainly make room for the Gwinnett Gladiators. So in closing Thrasherville get out and support the hockey that is still here and Go GLADS!

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03-05-2012, 03:25 PM
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Puckschmuck*
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I don't think anyone ever thought hockey was dead down there, at least around here anyways.

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03-05-2012, 04:00 PM
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Perhaps the ECHL is the appropriate level of hockey for the Atlanta metro area. It is in Cincinnati.

We've had WHA, AHL (3 times), IHL (AAA) and all have ultimately failed.

The ECHL Cyclones are in their 6th year back following a 2 year voluntary suspension and the future has never looked brighter. The team averaged over 4100 last season (a real 4100 in the house and paid) and is 8% ahead of that pace this year with only 4 home games remaining. If the team survives 3 more years-which it will-it will be the longest tenure of any of the 10 or so AA level or above pro hockey teams which have called Cincinnati home. The economics in terms of both the cost of operation and the ticket price needed to be charged are the proper fit for the Cincinnati hockey market. I see the Gladiators situation in this respect to be quite similar to ours.


I attend ECHL and NHL games and find both equally enjoyable. Granted, my NHL games are those involving the Blue Jackets, but the quality of play in the ECHL is quite good and occasionally a real gem of a player comes through-in Cincinnati's case it's current Montreal Canadiens leading scorer David Desharnais.

Good luck to the Glads. Except in the coming weeks when my Cyclones will take 3 of 3 from you in your home barn

EDIT: Posted this in other forum...thought it relevant to this discussion

I view the Gwinette market as very similar to Cincinnati. Both Atlanta and Cincinnati are major league markets for other sports, but not for hockey. Minor league will be view as minor league by all but a few hockey enthusiasts. The difference in cost structure (about double in the AHL vs. the ECHL) can't be supported by ticket prices and sponsorships.

I would think that the only viable AHL scenario in either city would be if each city's team were owned by an NHL club which would be willing to underwrite losses of $1-$2 million per year.


Last edited by Cyclones Rock: 03-05-2012 at 04:14 PM.
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03-05-2012, 04:22 PM
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Cincy and Attlanta are different. Atlanta is a Top 10 sized city, one of the few that could afford 4 major teams. Xincy is like a Buffalo, Pittsburgh or Cleveland, 2 is sufficient and maybe more than deserved. Granted Cleveland does have 3 now, not sure how long that can last. Pittsburgh also has 3 but i'm not sure that has a long term baseball future.

Why did Cincy AHL fail? Were the teams ever good? I've heard the key to the Cyclones success is the owner found out he has to spend and win to have a shot because thats all they will support in Cincy is winning.

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03-05-2012, 05:11 PM
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GwtGlads2013
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I had originally posted this in the Winnipeg discussion board addressing any Atlanta fans that still might be hanging around there but, their mods moved it to this board.

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03-06-2012, 02:40 AM
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Cyclones Rock
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Men Rule View Post
Cincy and Attlanta are different. Atlanta is a Top 10 sized city, one of the few that could afford 4 major teams. .

Why did Cincy AHL fail? Were the teams ever good? I've heard the key to the Cyclones success is the owner found out he has to spend and win to have a shot because thats all they will support in Cincy is winning.
Atlanta has failed with not one but two NHL teams. Obviously they can't support major league hockey. This last time they failed real bad. I was at a mid week Thrashers game that may have had 4000 people. It was a joke. Atlanta will never have an NHL team again.

The Cincinnati Swords (1971-74) won a Calder Cup but folded due to the WHA Cincinnati Stingers arrival.

The Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (1997-95) of the AHL were never good on the ice, but fell victim to the "hockey wars" in Cincinnati. Until their last season (2004-05) the Ducks always had competition in town from the Cincinnati Cyclones of the AAA IHL and later the ECHL. The ECHL Cyclones died in 2004 but returned in 2006-one year after the Ducks folded.

The Cyclones attendance is primarily a result of very good marketing/promotions and a very sound pricing strategy. Winning isn't a very important part of the equation. The Cyclones spend at the salary cap so they don't spend any more than many of the ECHL teams. They won the two Kelly Cups because of great recruiting by Chuck Weber in 2007-08 (David Desharnais was signed by Weber. Desharnais currently leads the Montreal Canadiens in scoring). The 2009-10 Champions was a result of great coaching and a little bit of luck

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03-06-2012, 06:52 AM
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Sigh. Once again, the fans didn't fail the team, the owners did.

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03-06-2012, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Bongo View Post
Sigh. Once again, the fans didn't fail the team, the owners did.
While you can't just blame the fans but fans have to hold some blame even with a bad team you should get more then 13,000 and no the fans don't hold most of the blame they hold very little.

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03-06-2012, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thrash2Smash25 View Post
I had originally posted this in the Winnipeg discussion board addressing any Atlanta fans that still might be hanging around there but, their mods moved it to this board.
Can't have any mention of the Thrashers or riff-raff fans hanging around you know

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03-06-2012, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by wjhl2009fan View Post
While you can't just blame the fans but fans have to hold some blame even with a bad team you should get more then 13,000 and no the fans don't hold most of the blame they hold very little.
Really? I don't follow the NHL that much but I do recall back in the early 2000's when the Penguins were a joke they were getting minor league type attendances. 13,000 for a horrific team is good in my book.

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03-06-2012, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Green Men Rule View Post
Really? I don't follow the NHL that much but I do recall back in the early 2000's when the Penguins were a joke they were getting minor league type attendances. 13,000 for a horrific team is good in my book.
Yes and there was talk the Pens could move if your team is awful you can say 13,000 is good but when your playing well and still around 13,000-14,000 that is not good don't get me wrong i am not saying the fans should get most of the blame but you can't just blame everyone else.

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03-06-2012, 08:50 AM
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I don't think anyone who wasn't here can understand. Bad owners are nothing new. ASG never wanted the hockey team and set out to sabotage it's operations. They spent no money on marketing, player development, or conditioning. The let an arena that's only 13 years old turn into an dump. Anyone worth a damn was shown the door when it was time to resign. Don Waddell had six years with two star forwards to build around and failed miserably. This team and it's fans never had a chance.

The best thing that could have happened to Kane, Enstrom, Burm, and Little was moving to Winnipeg.

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03-31-2012, 03:25 PM
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It's sad, I moved to Atlanta just after the Thrashers moved. While I would love to go and support hockey in Georgia but Gwinnett is just too far for me to drive for the ECHL on any day except on the weekend. By the way, does anyone know a store that has Thrashers jerseys/shirts on sale?

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04-02-2012, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by DevzFan15 View Post
It's sad, I moved to Atlanta just after the Thrashers moved. While I would love to go and support hockey in Georgia but Gwinnett is just too far for me to drive for the ECHL on any day except on the weekend. By the way, does anyone know a store that has Thrashers jerseys/shirts on sale?
TJ Maxx and Marshalls stores across the country have recently had the premier jerseys ($13 I think) and practice jerseys ($9 I think). Maybe they'll have some left.

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04-24-2012, 08:01 AM
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The Hobgoblin
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Originally Posted by Thrash2Smash25 View Post
I had originally posted this in the Winnipeg discussion board addressing any Atlanta fans that still might be hanging around there but, their mods moved it to this board.

That's because they don't want to acknowledge Atlanta or its fans in any way shape or fashion. Goodness knows the hard luck story of Winnipeg doesn't sound too good when their hands are as bloody as Phoenix in taking another city's team.There should be a defunct team board on this site just to keep the community of fans together.

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04-24-2012, 08:04 AM
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The Hobgoblin
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As to the OP: I live in Columbus, Ga. and there is no way I'm driving that far to see minor league hockey. We already have a team here in the Columbus Cottonmouths that just won the SPHL championship this past season. So I can get my fix for live hockey even at the AA level or probably more like the Single A level.

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04-24-2012, 11:34 AM
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Yes, the SPHL is A. Wasn't Columbus in the E years back? I believe they had BRENT CULLATON.

As for Winnipeg too small a city, to be mad at PHX when the facts were obvious isn't fair. I don't see this new team they got last a long time either.

On the other hand..Atlanta is too big and divided and has so many other options, not to mention the god awful traffic.

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04-24-2012, 01:23 PM
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The Hobgoblin
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Originally Posted by Green Men Rule View Post
Yes, the SPHL is A. Wasn't Columbus in the E years back? I believe they had BRENT CULLATON.

As for Winnipeg too small a city, to be mad at PHX when the facts were obvious isn't fair. I don't see this new team they got last a long time either.

On the other hand..Atlanta is too big and divided and has so many other options, not to mention the god awful traffic.
Yes the Cottonmouths were in the ECHL for at least a couple of years. We were in the CHL, the ECHL and the owners said the ECHL was too expensive so they helped form the SPHL. We have a good healthy crowd that is lively and into the games in Columbus. LET'S GO SNAKES!

Just wish I still had my NHL team about 2 hours away to go see even though it was murder going through the traffic and the arena is not in a safe part of town. Going to Phillips Arena and the Georgia Dome is like going through ghetto city USA.

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04-30-2012, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyclones Rock View Post
Atlanta has failed with not one but two NHL teams.
The truth couldn't be more complicated than that, I suppose. The Atlanta Flames were profitable. No legitimate entity has ever suggested otherwise.

No legitimate entity looking into the way the Atlanta Thrashers were ran has found that ownership and management were top quality and the fans just wouldn't support them.

Or maybe the vast over-simplification of both situations is the whole truth?

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05-09-2012, 01:18 AM
  #20
GwtGlads2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hobgoblin View Post
As to the OP: I live in Columbus, Ga. and there is no way I'm driving that far to see minor league hockey. We already have a team here in the Columbus Cottonmouths that just won the SPHL championship this past season. So I can get my fix for live hockey even at the AA level or probably more like the Single A level.
It was more addressed to ATL area folks than those in south GA.

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