21 May 2011

Thrashers Moving to Winnipeg, Good or Bad for the NHL?

It seems like all but certain that the Atlanta Thrashers will be playing next season in Winnipeg, Manitoba either as the new incarnation of the Jets (which they should be named) or as the Manitoba Moose (not feeling it). Now I'm more of a believer of more clubs in Canada, but is this relocation good for the league?

No matter how bad of a sports city Atlanta is, no matter how poorly the Thrashers drew, the Thrashers had more value in Atlanta than they will in Winnipeg. Why? Because Atlanta is one of the biggest markets in the United States, has a diverse population, and is home to many Fortune 500 companies (as well as Herman Cain).
And people have to realize that putting a team in Atlanta, albeit not a particularly brilliant idea, was not as atrocious idea either. The last time Atlanta had a team was the Flames, who actually drew well and made the playoffs six out of eight seasons in Atlanta. They moved to Calgary though after the World Hockey Association exponentially increased salaries that the ownership of the club could not afford. Plus they were awarded to an extremely successful billionaire in Ted Turner and had a sparkling new arena in Phillips Arena.
But there are positives to the Thrashers moving. It was clear that the notoriously fickle Atlanta fans were simply not drawn to a developing team that has traded all of its notable stars over the past decade. Plus the Thrashers had an atrocious ownership situation marred by douchiness and lawsuits. In Winnipeg they would have stable ownership, another relatively new arena in the MTS Centre, and a market that craves hockey (it is Canada after all).
Despite the multiple con's of the move, moving the Thrashers to Manitoba would be a great move. If only we could just take care of the Coyotes already...

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