Thrashers To Winnipeg...........Really?

It might just be me, but if it’s not, I really want to hear from those who agree. Why are the Thrashers moving while the Coyotes stay?

While the deal isn’t 100% completed, it’s almost certain now that the Atlanta Thrashers will soon be relocated to Winnipeg. Meanwhile, the Phoenix Coyotes will remain in the desert in Glendale.  One of these thing is not like the other.

Why? Because while both of these teams have trouble drawing fans to their arena, Atlanta does better attendance wise. As a matter of fact, While both teams averaged a building capacity of under 75%, the Thrashers drew over 35,000 more people to their games. Not a massive number by any means, but something to look at for sure.

While the two teams have troubles off the ice, and while Phoenix has had more success off the ice, having a hockey market in Atlanta makes more sense to me than one in Phoenix.

In a article posted in 2009 by a Scott Taylor from River City Sports Blogs, the total revenue amount the Phoenix Coyotes had lost was near $400 million. Now tack on two years and you know that number has grown as it’s rumored by the Sports Jury that the Coyotes lost $37 million this year alone.

According to Forbes, the Phoenix Coyotes ranked 30th value wise in the entire National Hockey League. That said, the Atlanta Thrashers ranked 29th.

It’s a tough draw between who is actually moved, I feel that Phoenix should be the first one moved.

Less of a fan base, bigger problems off the ice, losing far to much money to remain a stable franchise in Phoenix, plus the history the Coyotes have in Winnipeg, as the team originally moved from Winnipeg to Phoenix in 1996.

It makes more sense to me to move Phoenix over Atlanta.

Another problem created with the Thrashers being moved is the division alignments. One team from the west will have to east.  There are three possible teams that could be moved.

First you have the Nashville Predators, a team that sits the closest to the Atlanta franchise and could move into the south east division. Problem is, The Predators are one of three teams in the central division that sit in central time zone. That is something to keep in mind. So while it remains the closest geography wise, it’s the least likely of the three choices to move east.
Next is the Detroit Red Wings, and let me say as a Blues fan, I’d love to see the Wings go east, but is it possible? While they have reportedly wanted to move east for a long time now, it’s still unlikely that the Wings do move into the eastern conference. Why you ask? Well, it’s because of the fact that the Wings and the Hawks are the only two original six teams that lie in the west. Or the fact that the Wings have a massive rivalry with the Chicago Blackhawks as well. Not to mention their rivalry with the Avalanche, Ducks, and the Blues. In my opinion, they would go before the Predators, but not before the Columbus Blue Jackets.


That’s right, Columbus, one of the youngest franchise in the NHL, and the youngest in the West. Sitting in Ohio, which is in the eastern standard time, and on the map is the closest team in the west to the east. A team that hasn’t had a winning tradition, has no real rivalry against any team in the West, but is forming a pretty good one with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  I feel that the Blue Jackets are the most likely team to move and they make the most sense.

By moving Columbus to the eastern conference, you don’t break away any real rivalry, you travel is easier for other teams, it just fits.


Now while I disagree with moving Thrashers before the Coyotes, it’s looking far more likely by the day, and with moving them to Winnipeg, a realignment must occur, but that matter is another blog entirely.

Now you know my feelings about it, tell me yours?


Tags: Anaheim Ducks Atlanta Thrashers Colorado Avalanche Columbus Blue Jackets Detroit Red Wings Nashville Predators Phoenix Coyotes St.Louis Blues Winnipeg

  • Jordan

    Detroit sit furthest to the east and is in eastern time zone. yes they have a rivalry with the hawks. Thats about it and that has only been relevant the last few years. The Blues, Avalanche & Ducks are hardly a rivalry. The Wings have and had rivalries with Toronto, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Boston. It only makes sense, it balances the conferences out a bit. Detroit has laid claim to moving to the east for a very long time and thats what will happen if Atlanta moves west to Winnipeg.

    • Randall Ritchey

      Ever been to a game in St. Louis when the Wings are in town? Or ever been to Joe Lewis when the Blues have played there?

      I’ve been to Joe Lewis twice for Blues games and there are easily a couple thousand Blues fans every game. Same goes for games in St. Louis.

      I’ve talked with players and as Blues players, they have no problems hating Detroit with the rivalry the two teams have.

      The Avs/Wings rivalry was old but has returns he last year or two.

      It’s very possible either three of the teams move, yet I believe it makes the most sense geography wise to move the Jackets.

      • WingsFan5

        Randall your problem is you’re looking at it from the point of view of a Blues fan.

        I don’t mean to sound like one of those evil arrogant Wings fans but to be honest the Wings fan base does not view the Blues, Ducks, or Avs as a rival franchise.

        Most Wings fans regard the Leafs, Canadiens, and Hawks as our rivals. That’s it.

        I know a lot of the West fan bases like to regard the Wings as a rival. As much as a fans in St. Louis, LA, Nashville, Dallas, Denver, or San Jose want to say they are Wings rivals; from the perspective of Wings fans they’re not.

        While it would be a negative to leave behind the Detroit-Chicago rivalry it would be worth it as Wings fans to not have ridiculous start times when the team is on the road. And to be reunited with our other natural rival Toronto, along with fellow O6 teams New York, Montreal, and Boston.

  • Walt

    I’ve been a Jet fan since 1986 and followed and supported the team in Phoenix. From following this debacle over the last two years, this is what I gather (pure speculation). When Moyes put the team into bankruptcy two years ago in an attempt to let Balsille purchase and move them to Hamilton, it gave Balsille (who had tried to get into the NHL as an owner a few times) a backdoor entrance, he even offered 50 million to Glendale in the deal. Gary Bettman and others, who by this point didn’t see Balsille as a future NHL owner for whatever reasons became very scared that this would allow him into the league via courts, so they held discussions with the city of Glendale urging them to side with the NHL in court and hence block Balsille again. I would have to think that Bettman had some sort of guarantee with the city of Glendale that things would work out in the desert and that’s why he is rigging so hard to buy them more time. To prevent some sort of lawsuit from the City. Just my opinion!

  • Jets Fans Never Die

    I think you have to look at Nero(GB) fiddling while Phoenix burns. There will probably never be a viable hockey franchise in sun city. So after Alanta moves to Winnipeg and the Goldwater Institute puts an end to Glendale City council’s shell game, the Coyotes will become Les Nordique. One wonders why the owners don’t hold GB’s feet to the fire and tell him to get it settled. You would think this guy has shares in Jobing.Com Arena.

  • GTAMissions

    “Another problem created with the Thrashers being moved is the division alignments. One team from the west will have to move east.”

    This is what I love about the NBA more than the NHL, not so many f in Eastern Time Zone teams to the point that Milwaukee and Chicago play in the east. It’s bull that Columbus and Detroit have to play in the west because the NHL was so stupid to over expand in that god awful excuse of a time zone! New Jersey getting a hockey team is especially bull when you consider that the New York City/Long Island/New Jersey market wasn’t big enough to support three baseball teams. Last time I checked, baseball was bigger than hockey in the New York City/Long Island/New Jersey market by a BIG MARGIN! Don’t be surprised if that market loses the Devils or the Islanders one of these days. So having a leastern time zone team move out west is not a bad thing, it’s a good thing! Besides, the Flames failed before (and they were good for the most part and they still weren’t supported!), so it doesn’t surprise me that the Thrashers are failing too! Plus I trust the Thrashers owners as much as I trust Clay Bennett, so I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.

    However I do agree that the sad reality of the situation is that (west coast team or not) the Phoenix Coyotes are dead meat long term and the only reason they are not moving right now is because the Glendale City Council are comprised of retards. The NHL Board of Governors need to swallow their pride and allow a Green Bay Packers type of ownership to the Coyotes or the Glendale City Council needs to make peace with the native americans who want to build a casino in the area and let them have their casino and then persuade them to invest some money in the Coyotes. Otherwise pray that Seattle builds a new arena soon or Kansas City steps in to take the Coyotes because I don’t want Quebec City to get the Coyotes when they could have Miami, Florida or better yet, the Devils or the Islanders instead!

    “Not to mention their rivalry with the Avalanche, Ducks, and the Blues.”

    The Red Wings have no such rivalry with Anaheim! The Californian team they have a rivalry with is the Sharks. But the problem with rivalries with San Jose and Denver is that they are too far away to maintain a long term commitment! The biggest rivalries in sports are always those that are close by. San Francisco Bay Area/Greater L.A. Area, New York City Area/Boston Area, St. Louis Area/Chicago Area and so on. And while the Wings have a rivalry with St. Louis, their rivalries with Toronto and Montreal goes even further back. The Wings would rather have those rivalries back than keeping their rivalries with St. Louis and Chicago.

    “but is forming a pretty good one with the Pittsburgh Penguins”

    Considering they don’t play each other often, not to mention the Blue Jackets suck throughout most of their existence, I think not! While I’m aware of Pittsburgh’s rivalries with Ohio teams in sports, even Steelers/Bengals didn’t exactly take off at first when the Steelers jumped over to the AFC in 1970, it took time. Plus again, it doesn’t help when the Blue Jackets suck so much that the Penguins would obliterate them easily! That’s not a rivalry!

    “While they have reportedly wanted to move east for a long time now, it’s still unlikely that the Wings do move into the eastern conference.”

    It’s all about politics, money and TV ratings.

    The Red Wings have all of that.

    The Blue Jackets do not! (Not to mention that it doesn’t help that the Blue Jackets lost alot of money recently!)

    NBC and Versus don’t give squat about the Blue Jackets (in fact has NBC ever broadcasted a Blue Jackets game? Exactly.) but the Red Wings are a different story as NBC and Versus loves the money and ratings the Wings bring and by moving them east, they would be playing the teams that NBC and Versus likes to broadcast more often! (Penguins, Capitals, Flyers, Rangers and Bruins).

    If it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that division realignments are dictated by POLITICS, not common sense. How else do you explain the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East even though they are closer to the Cardinals, 49ers and Seahawks than the Rams are? Exactly, and that’s why the Red Wings are gonna beat Columbus and Nashville in the realignment department easily. Not to mention Dallas (noticing a trend here?) going to the Central ahead of Minnesota and Winnipeg plus Colorado would get their rivalries with the California teams back if Dallas goes back to the Central. Because at the end of the day, it’s all about who has the best political influence and not what’s right for the league.

    “Gary Bettman and others, who by this point didn’t see Balsille as a future NHL owner for whatever reasons ”

    Basille was “banned” from the league when he did that stupid pre-season ticket deposit garbage up in Hamilton while he was pursuing Nashville back then. That’s why I knew he wasn’t gonna get the Coyotes later on because of that.

  • Walt

    Sorry, I understood why Balsille wasn’t a person they wanted, I just didn’t want to type out all the reasons why Balsille is a hated man! Was on coffee and was running out of time.

  • Jenn

    Atlanta never, ever,ever should have been granted an NHL franchise in 1998 !! What a horrible hockey market

    • Mark Robertson

      Jenn, you don’t know what you are talking about. The fans have been screwed over repeatedly by the incredibly poor management/ownership of the franchise. One playoff appearance and zero playoff wins in 11 seasons. Every star the team has had (Heatley, Savard, Hossa, Kovolchuk) has left. The ownership has refused to spend money. The one year they made the playoffs, they out-drew Boston. No American city, besides NY and Detroit, would be supporting this franchise right now. Give this franchise solid ownership, and the fans will come back.

  • Goober

    Barry Shenkarow

    May 14th, 2011
    9:55 pm

    If Atlanta was a hockey market it wouldn’t matter if the Thrashers made the playoffs or not.

    Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t made the playoffs since 2004. They sell out every single game and their average ticket price is 1st in the league and is 50% higher than the average ticket price of the 2nd highest ticket price in the league.

    You yak about the Braves but sober up, net profit alone of the Leafs are 50% of Braves TOTAL REVENUE. And the Leafs SUCK!

    The Leafs are about to sell for 1.7 to 1.8 BILLION dollars. CANADIAN dollars, so add 5% to figure out how much that is in American dollars.

    The Thrashers give thousands of tickets away to each game so they can qualify for revenue sharing with the League. And scalpers sell good seats for 5 bucks a piece.

    You might not sell out every game in Winnipeg but you won’t be able to get a seat, a hot dog and a parking spot for 20 bucks either.

    Enjoy your Braves. We’ll enjoy our hockey; winning or not.

  • canucks fan

    Goober, you can not compare the Toronto market to any other market. There is no one in the world that accepts such consistantly bad performance by a sports team like Leafs fans do…this is not something to be proud of. In fact I think Toronto should get the Coyotes, those loser Leafs need some competition for hockey fan dollars. However, as you duly noted if they are worth over a billion dollars CDN there is no way they will let a team in their market unless they get a substantial fee.

    As for a re-alignment of the league, as a long time Canucks fan I think it would be sad to see Detroit, a team who I see as a rival, go to the East, but at the same time I think they are the most logical choice.

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