Last night I attended the Thrashers vs. Predators preseason game on a whim, and it reaffirmed my sentiment that hockey is always better in person. I’ve been to my share of Thrashers games over the past 11 years of this expansion franchise and I have a blast every time. Is Atlanta a Hockeytown? Most would chime-in with a resounding “No way!”. Why isn’t Philips Arena packed? Is it alright if I call it the “Highlight Factory” even when it’s set up for hockey? “Blueland” just doesn’t do it for me. Lots of questions and very few answers.
With the NHL season approaching in less than 2 weeks, here are a few reasons to get excited about Atlanta Thrashers hockey:
1) They aren’t the Hawks. The Hawks have made some questionable decisions this off season that have the potential of blowing up in our faces and dooming the franchise for years to come. There is also a glimmer of hope that they will gel and be successful against the NBA’s Eastern Conference giants. Regardless of your opinions on the court, you might want consider spending your NBA dollars on hockey this season. It’s certainly a breath of ice-cold fresh air (bring a jacket. It gets cold in Philips). Yes, Atlanta Spirit Group owns both teams and they make dumb decisions like letting Ilya Kovalchuk convince himself that ATL isn’t the jam, but maybe the hard-hitting game and below 0° temperature will numb the pain.
2) Evander Kane is the face of the franchise. Why wouldn’t you want to back a dude who’s mother named him after ATL resident heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield.
3) There are new names in town, and these guys are winners. Chris Mason, Dustin Byfuglien, & Andrew Ladd join the roster. The latter two just finished playing a championship season, winning the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks.
4) This is a young franchise, and there’s plenty of room on the bandwagon. All aboard ATL!