Nearly 4 million human lives were changed forever on April 4, 1980 when the Atlanta Flames played their last game in Georgia. The survivors of the Flames’ relocation to Calgary called it Judgment Day. They lived only to face a new nightmare: the return of hockey to Atlanta in the form of the Thrashers. The man that controls the machines, Jim Balsillie, made multiple attempts to poach hockey teams – but not even the Blackberry guy wanted anything to do with the Thrashers.
True North Sports and Entertainment’s mission: to capitalize on the financial failings of southern hockey franchises in hopes of moving one to Winnipeg. Their first target was the former Jets turned Coyotes of Phoenix, but it was thwarted by Gary Bettman’s will and the city of Glendale’s deep pockets, True North tried to take back the former Winnipeg franchise. It failed. Their second target was the lowly Atlanta Thrashers. As before, the resistance was futile, but there was no effort from the NHL to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta.
On May 19, 2011, Stephen Brunt of The Globe and Mail reported that the Thrashers were a mere formal announcement away from relocating to Winnipeg. TSN et al. disputed that claim. It was just a question of which one of them would report a done deal first…
Will May 31, 2011 be Judgment Day for the Atlanta Thrashers?