Hartford Whalers and Atlanta Thrashers parallels

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by WingsFan95, Jun 8, 2011.

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  1. WingsFan95

    WingsFan95 Registered User

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    Obviously the Whalers made the playoffs many more times and existed for far longer but I find the relocation deal to be quite similar.

    The Whalers had only won one division title and for the last few years of their existence in Hartford were abysmal but had some young talented prospects.

    They then move to a market that is not huge but welcomes them ( albeit not as much as Winnipeg ). The move is just as heartbreaking but not so much media attention to brought to it and it's not without too much fan revolt.

    The Hurricanes become contenders a few years into Carolina.:sarcasm:
     
  2. tarheelhockey

    tarheelhockey Highest Boss

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    You missed the most obvious connection: their arenas were both attached to malls.
     
  3. WingsFan95

    WingsFan95 Registered User

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    I just realized another startling similarity.

    Both teams had Hall of Fame or top talent players that didn't play full prime or past their prime on the team.

    Thrashers:

    Thatchuk
    Chelios
    Heatley
    Kovluchuk??

    Whalers:
    Coffey
    Shanahan
    Hull
    Pronger
     
  4. Mayor Bee

    Mayor Bee Registered User

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    The Whalers truly never had anything resembling support, despite what revisionist history may say.

    They needed to sell 11,000 season tickets to keep the team....they had never sold that many. It also would have required a massive jump from the existing STH base that was said to be around 5,300. There was also at least one "Save the Whalers" rally that took place over a year before the team left, complete with an appearance by several players (including Kevin Dineen), that drew 400 people.

    And in their last 8 years in the NHL, they broke 13K average attendance just twice and 12K once more. Three of those years were below 11K.
     
  5. WingsFan95

    WingsFan95 Registered User

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    No doubt.

    It has boggled my mind at times how the Whalers were the last of the relocation teams in the 90s.

    Nords moved in 95.
    Jets moved in 96.
    Whale moved in 97.

    Now not to mock the Whale but were they a better product and had a thicker fanbase than the Jets or Nordiques??

    My whole point in the OP however was that the Thrashers have seemingly gone quietly, it is not like when the Jets were torn from Winnipeg.

    Take from that what you will.

    Also, what was the mood when the Flames left Atlanta in 80?
     
  6. jkrx

    jkrx Registered User

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    It was because Hartfords attendance was actually increasing while Jets and Nordiques were decreasing. Nords had the best average attendance anyway of the three.
     
  7. Rhiessan71

    Rhiessan71 Just a Fool

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    Wouldn't the bigger parallel simply be the Atlanta Flames going to Calgary?
    Once again, an Atlanta NHL franchise is packing up and moving to Western Canada.

    10 seasons as Atlanta then off to Canada the first time around. 11 seasons the second.


    Maybe the next time Atlanta gets an NHL franchise, they can make it 12 seasons before ending up in Quebec or Hamilton lol
     
  8. WingsFan95

    WingsFan95 Registered User

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    It's not the same because the mood was different.

    Vancouver got a team in 70.
    Edmonton, Winnipeg and Quebec joined in 79 coming from the WHA.

    So there were 2 Canadian teams up until 1970, then 9 years later the number doubled from 3 to 6.

    The Flames moved right after that 79 Canadian expansion.

    If you look at the climate now, there seems to be only the possibility of Quebec City, and maybe several years from now.

    In the Atlanta Flames situation, they were one of many destined to fail franchises of the late 60s/70s that the NHL failed with.
     
  9. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Interestingly, the only reason Atlanta got a franchise in the first place was because the league wanted to round out the divisions having just awarded a team to Long Island in its fight against the WHA in blocking their move into that market. The Flames were a sort of "throw in", everyone telling the NHL they were nuts to put a team in the South. Yet surprisingly, the team did very well & had it not been for Cousins real estate meltdown in the late 70's they'd likely have never left.

    Actor Glenn Ford & some investors offered $8M for the team, keeping it at the old Omni, however, Western Canadian Rounder & Flim Flam Man Nelson Skalbania & a Crew out of Alberta had other ideas, doubling the offer to $16M & hello Calgary. Now here we are 30yrs later, ASG having treated the franchise like an unwanted red headed stepchild for a decade, internecine warfare amongst the partners, and ultimately the 2nd loss of Atlanta thats a sad testament to the leagues stewardship of the game in what coulda/shoulda/woulda been a fantastic market. Pretty pathetic. :shakehead
     
  10. WingsFan95

    WingsFan95 Registered User

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    Like the Golden Seals I suppose, the NHL just didn't get a good footing in a possible market.

    My take with Atlanta though is the culture there is just not hockey friendly.

    But maybe it's because I have bias and feel if the Bolts didn't win the Cup in 04 and not been playoff contention years after they would be in trouble of relocating now.

    The Florida Panthers franchise will be telling if they end up moving a few years from now.
     
  11. GKJ

    GKJ Global Moderator

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    The Lightning weren't even that secure after it. They were TNSE's first target.
     
  12. WingsFan95

    WingsFan95 Registered User

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    Yeah the whole Tampa situation doesn't sit well with me, but they won't be moving anywhere if they continue to make playoffs.

    I'll admit the Thrashers fan support for such a consistent loser is much more respectable than other expansion teams.

    Though what the Preds have achieved as of late is astounding.
     
  13. TasteofFlames

    TasteofFlames Registered User

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    To be clear, neither team has left Atlanta because of the fans, the city, or because "hockey can't work in the south."

    The movement of the Flames was largely because the owner, Tom Cousins, had lost a lot of money in his real-estate ventures. There is also claims that he discovered some accounting irregularities involving the player's pension fund and he decided to sell the team to help pay his players. He sold the team for a record, at the time, $16 million.

    The Thrashers...at this point there shouldn't be much to say. The Atlanta Spirit group was THE WORST ownership in hockey. They were apathetic about the team and its fans. The group admittedly wanted to flip the team upon purchase, but couldn't due to the litigation happy nature of ASG. They were in court for six and a half years, fighting about a contract handed out to a basketball player (Joe Johnson). These guys are currently suing their lawyers, and a former partner (Steve Belkin, he got bought out after the original lawsuit was settled in December '10) filed paperwork to file suit claiming he is entitled to a portion of the sale. These guys were, at best, contemptuous of their team. At worst, they actively sabotaged hockey in Atlanta and intentionally facilitated its departure. One of the group, Bruce Levinson, even called a season ticket holder an ******* during a town-hall meeting, (I believe he was asking why Waddell was still GM). If this doesn't illustrate just how little these guys cared about building a successful franchise, I don't know what can.
     
  14. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    I don't think the two are alike at all. One was owned by a guy who moved the team to a better arena situation with the promise of a new arena. Karmanos is a big hockey fan and has grassroots involvement. The ASG look like they were just trying to flip the whole thing but miscalculated.
     

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