Atlanta Thrashers was an ice hockey team based in Atlanta, Georgia. They were founded in 1999 and played in NHL until 2011, when the franchise was relocated to Winnipeg and the team would be later called Winnipeg Jets. The franchise was awarded to Atlanta in 1997. The team name Thrashers comes from the Georgia state bird, the brown thrasher.
The team colours of Thrashers were Atlanta midnight blue, Thrasher ice blue, Georgia bronze, Capitol copper, Peachtree gold and white. Thrashers played their home matches in Philips Arena, a multi-purpose arena that is also used by NBA team Atlanta Hawks. The capacity of the arena is appr. 18 000 for ice hockey matches.
A short history
Thrashers took part in 1999 NHL Entry draft, but they did not succeed to well in the draft. As a result, their first season was quite lame and the team was placed last in the league, collecting only 39 points from 82 regular season games. During their history in NHL, Thrashers qualified on post-season play-offs only once (in 2006-07) and never won a single play-off game.
Heatley – Snyder accident
In 2003, the franchise was sold to a new owner group, but the team location remained the same. There was also a big tragedy in the team during the same year, when Dany Heatley crashed his car when speeding. Heatley was injured but severely injured other player Dan Snyder died a few days after the accident. At the end of the same season, Heatley requested to be traded and he moved to Ottawa Senators.
Poor results and relocation
After season 2006-07, Thrashers did not qualify another time to the play-offs. The financial results were poor, and the ownership group started searching for new investors. In May 2011, the franchise was eventually sold to Winnipeg.
Some Thrashers legends
Marian Hossa played for Thrashers between 2005-08. He made his mark by scoring 100 points in regular season 2006-07. The Slovak right wing played over 1300 regular season games and scored magnificent 525 goals in his career. Hossa became known for his excellent puck holding skills, good shot and strength.
Ilya Kovalchuk played five seasons in Atlanta between 2005-10. Still active Russian winger is fast and hard to stop. Being a natural born leader, he also served as a captain of the Thrashers before his move to New Jersey Devils in 2010.
Vyacheslav Kozlov won two Stanley Cups with Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. Kozlov played seven NHL seasons for Thrashers and it was his final team in NHL before he returned to Russia to play in KHL league. Kozlov’s career in ice hockey was severely in doubt after a car accident, where Kirill Tarasov was killed. Nevertheless, Kozlov made a miracle return on ice and had a long, successful career.