Up until the end of the 2010/2011 season, Atlanta's NHL expansion team, in the woeful Southeast Division. The franchise was awarded in 1997, and the club officially entered the league 1999. They were the 28th NHL franchise, a division of Turner Sports, Inc, which means they had plenty of media savvy. They play at the Philips Arena.
The team is named after Georgia's state bird, the Brown Thrasher. The first Atlanta Thrasher was goaltender Damian "Dusty" Rhodes, acquired from the Ottawa Senators.
The team was orginally affiliated with the IHL's Orlando Solar Bears and the ECHL's Greenville Grrrowl. The "I" has since folded - as of 2003 the Thrashers affiliates are the AHL's Chicago Wolves and the ECHL's Gwinnett Gladiators (formerly the Mobile Mysticks).
Atlanta's previous franchise was the Atlanta Flames, who played from 1972 to 1980, then moved to Calgary as the Calgary Flames. (When I created this writeup, I wrote "The economics of the game would prevent such US-to-Canada movement today." but I was less than prescient. In the summer of 2011 the Thrashers did just that, and became the new Winnipeg Jets.)
Team colours : Navy, blue, copper, bronze, and gold
- #37 (unofficial) Unused after the death of Dan Snyder
- #99 Wayne Gretzky (league-wide retirement)
October 2003: The start of the Thrashers' 5th NHL season was marred this week by a horrific car crash. The accident killed Thrashers forward Dan Snyder and injured budding superstar Dany Heatley. Heatley was the driver in the single-vehicle accident, Snyder a passenger. At age 25 Snyder, a former star with the Wolves, was a small player in a bigger man's league. His grit and work ethic earned him a gig in the NHL, centring the Thrashers' fourth line. Snyder's untimely death will haunt the players and the Thrashers organization for some time to come.
June 2011: The Thrashers closed up shop and moved out of Atlanta after years of losing and poor attendance. They moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, becoming the second incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets.