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Alpharetta mayor responds to chatter about whether NHL team could return to metro Atlanta

11Alive spoke exclusively with Alpharetta Mayor Jim Gilvin who said he would love to see the idea come to fruition.

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Chatter of the National Hockey League's potential return to Atlanta had sports fans in Georgia swirling on social media over the past week amid the buzz.

One tweet brought the attention of the entire NHL world down on Georgia last Friday.

It came from ESPN hockey anchor John Buccigross, who hinted at an NHL team coming back to Atlanta -- more specifically Alpharetta.

Since the tweet, 11Alive's Maria Martin has been tracking updates and developments behind the rumblings. If the NHL does approve a return to Atlanta, the proposal would be designed to build a new complex in the suburbs, with Alpharetta being the target spot.

Both an expansion team or having a current NHL team relocate to Atlanta are both on the table, according to 11Alive's Maria Martin.

11Alive spoke exclusively with Alpharetta Mayor Jim Gilvin who said he would love to see the idea come to fruition, despite having not yet spoken directly with anyone from the league.

'We think it makes sense here. Private sector will be the ones who make the decision," Gilvin said. "But we want to be in a position that we know what we're doing if the opportunity arises."

Gilvin also noted the city hired a council to look into not only a potential NHL franchise, but other potential sporting ventures.

"We hired a sports consulting firm a few months ago to look into this because we were getting proposals from different leagues and different sports and things like that and we wanted to know the viability," Gilvin said. "So, we're hopeful to get some type of information from that consultant in the next month or two that we can share publicly."

The Alpharetta mayor was also sure to state he has had zero conversations with the NHL about this possibility and said there is nothing "coming soon" from his current understanding.

"It'd be great if it were true, and if they want to come to Alpharetta, we'll do everything we can to make it successful," Gilvin explained. "We think it's a great location for something like that."

11Alive's Ric Garni spoke in full with the mayor Thursday morning and also noted to keep an eye on the North Point Mall redevelopment as a potential site.

This comes after the Alpharetta City Council rejected a redevelopment plan on Nov. 7 to revitalize the formerly hopping mall. Gilvin was among those who rejected the plan.

It would have included 315,000 feet worth of new retail and restaurant space, including a hotel, as well as tearing down much of the current mall to create an outside "walkable village." The space was also set to include apartments and townhomes. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the project would have cost about $550 million.

Listen to more with Gilvin below:

The NHL has been in metro Atlanta twice. The Flames left in 1980 for Calgary and in 2021, the Trashers took off for Winnipeg. 

In both cases, the teams were sold to Canadian owners, which led to the moves. 


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