Thrashers fans pick seats, rally to keep team

9:28 PM, May 21, 2011   |    comments
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Video: Thrashers future

  • Thrashers fans rally near Philips Arena to try to keep the team in Atlanta.
  • Thrashers fans show up to pick their seats for season tickets, despite increasing uncertainty about the team's future in Atlanta.
    

ATLANTA -- Despite increasing uncertainty about the Thrashers future in Atlanta, fans showed up at Philips Arena on Saturday to pick their seats for season tickets.

"I'm very worried," said fan Jim Kellogg, who's been a season ticket holder for 11 years. "It's a money game. I'll be disappointed if they leave."

Lawyers are said to be working through the weekend on a deal that could send the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg.

The Atlanta Spirit, which owns the Thrashers and Hawks, is negotiating a sale with True North Sports, but both sides have said publicly it's not done yet.

Atlanta fans feel a glimmer of hope.

Outside Philips Arena, they tried to show strength in numbers. Two different fan clubs came together Saturday to make a case for hockey in Atlanta.

"The hockey community is a huge hockey family," said Lisa Lewis, president of the Thrashers Fan Club. "We all know each other, support each other, do what we can for each other. This is devastating for us."

It's also very personal for fans who have been around the longest.

"It's kind of like the NHL saying the last 10 years of my life I've invested in something is not worth anything," said another fan, who was moved to tears.

And yet it's hard to match the passion for hockey in Cananda, where the team's possible move to Winnipeg is national news.

"For the last 2 nights, this has been the top story on our major flagship newscast," said Lyndsay Duncombe, a producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, who's on assignment in Atlanta. 

"The perception of folks in Winnipeg is that it's a matter of dotting the i's and crossing the t's," she said. 

In Atlanta, the move seems just as imminent, but fans refuse to give up their fight to keep the team. 

"If this is our last time to get together as hockey fans, we're going out with a bang," Lewis said. 

 

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