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Atlanta Thrashers Tickets

The Atlanta Thrashers

With a watchful eye, sheer balance and a cold glittering ice under the feet turns on the mood of ice hockey professionals. The Atlanta Thrashers are a professional ice hockey team based in Atlanta, Georgia. They are members of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The nickname “Thrashers”, was selected after Georgia’s state bird, the brown thrasher. “Thrashers” had actually been runner-up to “Flames” for Atlanta’s first NHL team and Philips Arena, the Thrashers’ new home, was built on the site of the former Omni, which had been home to the Flames.

Since their inception, they have played their home games at Philips Arena. The Thrashers have qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs once in 2006-07 season. Atlanta was awarded a NHL franchise on June 25, 1997. This marked a return to Atlanta, Georgia by the NHL. The old Atlanta Flames team departed for Calgary in 1980 and became the Calgary Flames.

The team was sold to a group of Atlanta Spirit, LLC by Time Warner, in September 21, 2003, along with the National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Hawks. That same month brought tragedy as star forward Dany Heatley crashed his Ferrari in a one-car accident that seriously injured him (broken jaw and arm, sprained wrist, torn ACL and MCL) and severely injured Thrashers center Dan Snyder, who died five days later due to infection stemming from the accident. The Thrashers dedicated their 2003–04 NHL season in Snyder’s memory. The loss of a team member became a sorry factor for the team yet they faced the challenge with a daring heart, thus accepting all the challenges that life offered them.

The Thrashers clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in team history in the 2006–2007 season, while also capturing the first division championship. They were swept 4–0 in the first round of the playoffs by the New York Rangers. But later those comeback victories became a recurring sight throughout the season, that also included wins from games against the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Islanders.

The absence of Heatley and a lack of depth started to appear. Boxing Day 2003 marked both a bright and dark day for the Thrash. On that day, Heatley skated for the first time since his car accident with Snyder, but it also marked the last win for the Thrashers before an extended losing streak. From December 28 to February 11 the Thrashers went a dismal 1–17–3. However, fans were entertained regardless of the team’s struggles. Kovalchuk became only the second Thrashers’ player to score in the NHL All-Star Game (after Heatley).

Waddell appointed a former NHL winger Curt Fraser. Fraser also served as a coach for Waddell’s former IHL team in Orlando. He led Atlanta’s first NHL season underwhelming at best as the team finished a dismal 14-57-7-4. The club began to assemble its front office in 1998 by hiring Don Waddel as their first general manager. Atlanta played its first game on October 2, 1999 but lost 4-1 to the New Jersey Devils. Tieing the Buffalo Sabres 5-5, they earned their first NHL regular season point later that week.

Though that first year saw the Atlanta Thrashers play like a typical expansion team yet they saw their first victory when Damian Rhodes shutout the New York Islanders 2-0 in Long Island. Wins were few as Andrew Brunette led the team in scoring with a modest 50 points. The franchise concluded last in the Southeast Division with a NHL worst 14-61-7-4 record for 39 points. The Thrashers missed the playoffs and began their next season.

Later, some consolation came when the Thrashers were able to take winger Dany Heatley with the second overall pick in the 2000 entry draft. However, Heatley would not arrive for another season. Hence, 2000-01, version of the Thrashers had made few improvements in terms of personnel. Thrashers continued to struggle to win games but things weren’t getting much better. Atlanta Thrashers did improve, however, after veterans Ray Ferraro, Brunette, and Donald Audette found some chemistry together on the team’s first line.

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About the Author

Peter Cohen calls Boston home and graduated from Brandeis University. He considers travel to be the love of his life and has already traveled to 5 different continents. He also has a passion for languages and has studied Arabic, German and Russian. While devoting his working life to writing for lifestyle magazines, he also takes out time for occasional event reviews.