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What if the Atlanta Spirit were good owners?

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Like the Marvel show What If... we are asking what if some things were different in the team’s past.

Thrashers Fans Rally To Keep Team In Atlanta Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Thrashers were destined to fail. Unlike other sunbelt teams that went from hockey loving person to hockey loving person, the Atlanta Thrashers were the unwanted stepchild to the Atlanta Spirit ownership group. The Atlanta Spirit really just wanted to own the Atlanta Hawks and the arena and the Thrashers were an inconvenient part of the whole ownership thing.

The Thrashers were fine under Ted Turner. Not thriving, but had a chance. That changed when the Atlanta Spirit bought the team. They did not want them. They just tolerated them. They ignored them. They set them up to fail.

The Thrashers did not have many good teams. They were never a team to spend money on players or front office staff. They were clearly just there for the Atlanta Spirit. They made the playoffs once in their time in Atlanta. That was a four game sweep at the hands of the New York Rangers. They traded away young player(s) to get there.

The Thrashers were poorly managed, they were poorly constructed, and later on they were owned by an ownership group that did not want them. What if the Thrashers were owned by someone who liked them? Would they be in Winnipeg today?

The Thrashers might have been a lost cause in Atlanta by the time True North Sports and Entertainment were looking for a team to buy. But before then the market might have been salvageable. There is probably no chance the NHL will go back to Atlanta for a third time, but this is the NHL so nothing is for certain.