NHL Commissioner doesn't expect Thrashers to leave Atlanta

6:53 PM, Apr 21, 2011   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman says at this moment, he expects the Atlanta Thrashers will stay right where they are.

"I think everybody agrees they're looking for new owners," Bettman told TSN Sports radio in Canada. "As we have this conversation today, I have no expectation of anything other than they're going to be in Atlanta."

The Thrasher's owners have made it clear the team is losing money and that they're looking for investors. It has generated concern among fans that the team could leave town.

Bettman told TSN Sports that he is focused on the situation in Phoenix, where the Coyotes hockey team is embroiled in a tug-of-war as one group fights to keep the team in Phoenix while another wants to move the franchise to Winnipeg.

Speaking on that situation, Bettman revealed an attitude that could impact the issues facing Atlanta.

"We do everything possible to protect our fans against moving franchises," said Bettman. "It's about the covenant we have with our fans everywhere that unless we have no choice, we don't run out on you."

On Wednesday, 11Alive was the first to report that former Atlanta Brave Tom Glavine was working to find investors interested in keeping the Thrashers in Atlanta.

On Thursday, Glavine talked more with 11Alive's Fred Kalil about his interest.

"I have a huge interest in keeping the team here," said Glavine. "Whether that's helping facilitate putting together a group locally or being part of another group in some way shape or form, those are all things I'm open to."

Michael Gearon of Atlanta Spirit, LLC, the group that owns the Thrashers, would not comment on any potential investors.

"Interested groups continue to explore the opportunity," said Gearon. "Something of this magnitude takes time and right now, there is nothing imminent to report. Our hope is to keep this team in Atlanta where we fully believe the fans will support a winning product on the ice."

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