ATLANTA -- Will they stay or will they go? That's the question hockey fans in Atlanta and Winnipeg, Manitoba were asking Monday.
Monday, reports from Canadian news and sports outlets indicated stronger than ever that the Atlanta Thrashers NHL franchise would be soon making the move north, to Winnipeg.
11Alive News' Jeff Hullinger talked with one of the co-owners of the Atlanta Thrashers and member of the Atlanta Spirit Group, Rutherford Seydel, on the eve of yet another rumored announcement in Winnipeg:
JEFF HULLINGER, 11ALIVE NEWS: "Where do we stand on this day, a day when there are a lot of reports that all of this has been done?"
RUTHERFORD SEYDEL, Atlanta Spirit Group, LLC: "I can't really comment on where we stand. I can just say that I'm proud of my partners for working hard to keep the Thrashers and paying a lot of money, all of us, to keep the team in town for longer than anybody else has thus far.
"Unfortunately, there are not enough of us that are passionate at this point in time to keep the team, to replenish what we need to have done.
"I can't really comment beyond that other than to say that I've been a season ticket holder since day one. I'm passionate about the Thrashers, hockey being in Atlanta and that's where I stand on the whole thing. We've tried our hardest and we're trying our hardest to make it work in Atlanta."
HULLINGER: "Do you walk away with this knowing that you tried to find a local owner and that nobody stepped up?"
SEYDEL: "We currently are trying and we've tried and it's frustrating and it's a very heart-felt sorrow that I have at this point.
"Obviously being a fifth-generation Atlantan, being passionate about the team, being part of it, my father-in-law (Ted Turner) being the guy who named the team, it being important to our family, it's something that would have been, would be great to have as a part of the fabric here in Atlanta."
HULLINGER: "The Canadian Broadcast Corporation has alerted us that True North has told them through a source to expect an announcement tomorrow. I'm not going to put you on the spot about that, but would you assume that this week this could be resolved?"
SEYDEL: "I really don't have any comment on that, Jeff. I shouldn't comment on anything that's speculative and we've been pretty clear that we can't do that."
HULLINGER: "Anything else you want to say Rutherford?"
SEYDEL: "Go Thrashers. We really have had a great run and all of the fans that have been there, and the fans that are still there and passionate about it, my absolute thoughts and heart is with everybody included in that group.
"As I've said, I've been a season ticket holder since day one, and of course being part of a group that has really put a lot of effort, time and money, and I think that's lost through the press a lot.
"People don't really understand that a lot of money, time, passion and thought has gone into trying to keep the team in Atlanta and trying to do the best we can do. We can't guarantee losses. But, we can guarantee that we have tried to get people like (Ilya) Kovalchuk big checks and keep big time hockey players in Atlanta. We tried our hardest."
HULLINGER: "That sounds like an obituary for the NHL."
SEYDEL: "Well, no. It's not. We all wake up every day and put our pants on one leg at a time and try to do better the next day and that's what I'm going to try to do."