Apr 21, 2011, 6:44 PM EDT
While we’ve been focused with the ongoing saga of the Phoenix Coyotes, let’s not forget that the Atlanta Thrashers have an ownership boondoggle of their own. With the Atlanta Spirit group caught up in all sorts of legal wrangling and causing problems with their tenuous situation in the front office, the instability up top is causing similar problems with the Thrashers as it is the Coyotes.
Luckily for Atlanta they’ve got a guy who’s made a name for himself in pro sports in the city and is a legend in his own right (with a hockey background to boot) that wants to help make sure the team stays in Atlanta. That man, of course, is none other than former Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine.
Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution catches up with the future Baseball Hall of Famer to find out that while he doesn’t want to buy the team, he wants to make sure that hockey keeps a home in Atlanta.
Glavine said his main interest is in keeping the Thrashers in Atlanta. And he is willing to do whatever he can — perhaps even becoming a partial investor — to help ensure the city does not lose an NHL franchise for a second time.
“I have a huge interest in hockey and the Thrashers,” Glavine said. “I would hate to see them leave. My kids play hockey. It’s a big part of our lives. We want to be able to keep going to games.
“I’m trying to do whatever I can do to keep the team here. Whether that is putting together a group locally or finding someone from outside the area. Any way my involvement will help, I am willing to do it.”
In case you didn’t know, Glavine has a strong history in hockey. In 1984 he was a fourth round pick of the Los Angeles Kings as a center out of Billerica High School in Massachusetts. He was chosen ahead of Hockey Hall of Famers Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille. Instead of hockey, Glavine made an equally solid choice to play baseball and finish his career with a World Series title and 305 career wins.
The important part of Glavine’s interest in helping the Thrashers is it helps put a face to the problems the Thrashers are facing. You can argue about the Thrashers’ popularity in Atlanta and likely make the right assumption that of the four major sports teams in the city they’re the least popular.
Getting a guy who brought the Braves a title and will forever be remembered there as one of the aces of their pitching staff to lead the public cause to save the hockey team is huge. While Atlanta sports fans may not know Evander Kane or Dustin Byfuglien, they sure as hell know who Tom Glavine is.
Will it be enough to keep the relocation wolves at bay? Depends on how successful Glavine is as a salesman to help rally support for the cause. If it bottoms out, the whispers about moving the team to any number of places (Kansas City, Las Vegas, Quebec City, Winnipeg) will continue to grow louder, especially if the Coyotes don’t end up leaving Phoenix.
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