[Ed. note: we've had this discussion before, but I thought it was interesting to see some of the numbers below. Also, anytime a non-Thrashers fan takes notice of the team, I'm happy. Thought I'd add to the front page. -timmyf]
Hi there, I usually post on Japers Rink's FanPosts, but I noticed a trend that I haven't seen discussed anywhere about the Thrashers lineup. It might have been done earlier, but forgive me as I'm not a regular reader of our Southeast neighborly blog.
With Nigel Dawes, the Thrashers are adding to the racial diversity they created this offseason and over the past couple years. The Thrashers now have seven black or bi-racial players, and I credit them to being probably one of the most racially diverse teams in the league, and I wonder if they are purposefully doing it to reach out to more people of race in the greater Atlanta area to help grow the fanbase, since the majority (55.8 percent) of Atlanta residents are black.
The Thrashers have Akim Aliu, Dustin Byfuglien, Evander Kane, Anthony Stewart, Johnny Odyua and now Nigel Dawes to add to the diversity. They would have had Donald Brashear if they wouldn't have bought him out. There's also Sebastian Owuya in the system. That's seven (could have been eight) players - six in the NHL and one prospect. [Ed. note: Aliu is still a prospect and most of us don't consider Stewart an NHLer, but the list is still pretty big. We have a few other prospects who'd make the list as well: Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Yasin Cisse, though I don't know Cisse's heritage. -timmyf]
That's 21 percent of the black or bi-racial NHL population, if this Wikipedia entry is correct.
To compare, the next highest numbers of black players on an NHL team is two, and eight teams are tied (Nashville, Dallas, Islanders, San Jose, Florida, Ducks (prospects), Edmonton and New Jersey).
If they are, I see it as a good move to present an olive branch and I don't think they're stockpiling players of race just because of their color for good PR, but they are quality players and are excellent role models.
So, what do you think? Does it matter? Do you think it's purposeful? And will folks in Atlanta embrace it or feel pandered?