With all of the anger, frustration, and mourning for the team over the last month or so, I just wanted to take the time today to say thanks. The Thrashers officially are no longer with us, and it’s heartbreaking. The deceit, the League’s complicity in all of this has turned a lot of fans off of hockey, or at the very least the NHL.
Oddly enough, we do have something to be thankful for.
I’d like to say thank you to the Thrashers organization for giving Atlanta eleven years of the greatest sport on earth. Thank you for getting teenagers interested in it in 1999, and thank you for letting them get their own children into hockey today. Thank you for the chance to grow the game here in the South - where many feel that it doesn’t belong. It does, very much so, because hockey belongs where people who love the game are. It’s just apparent that the Atlanta Spirit Group, LLC doesn’t love the game, doesn’t understand the nuances or the rules of the sport - and doesn’t understand the community impact.
Thank you to the Thrashers for giving all of us a group of friends that are irreplaceable. Whether it’s the community here on Birdwatchers Anonymous, the Nasty Nest, the Fan Club (who are accepting notes to the team and your personal remembrances of hockey in Atlanta), or just the table of friends that you sat with before every home game, sipping beers from Gorin’s - all of these people have made an impact. The community here around this team is second to none. It’s a family, a fraternity, a secret society. That’s an experience that you’ll never get in a big market.
Thank you, Thrashers for eleven years of fun, frustration, elation, hope, and statistics to crunch and debate the nuances of. Thank you for always being welcoming to us, bloggers and fans alike. Thank you to guys like Jim Slater, Chris Thorburn, Eric Boulton, Garnet Exelby, Johan Hedberg, and all of the other hard workers in the locker room who loved this team, and who made the fans love you guys.
Thank you for the hours put in working at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Habitat for Humanity, and the food banks and numerous charitable work you’ve done. The community, even though Mayor Kasim Reed doesn’t seem to get it, will miss you very much.
As the curtain closes on the second chapter of NHL hockey in Atlanta exactly 31 years after it closed here the first time, we’re all sad. We’re all upset by the loss of our team, but at least we had them, even if for a short little bit.
And for that I’m thankful.