by Carla Parker, Jersey Girl Sports Contributor

For the second time in 31 years, the city of Atlanta has lost a NHL franchise to the Canadians.

No surprise here. I’ll explain later.

The Atlanta Spirit announced Tuesday that an agreement was reached to sell the Atlanta Thrashers to True North Sports and Entertainment, who will move the team to Winnipeg. I swear I’ve never heard of Winnipeg before last week.

Atlanta, which already has a bad rep when it comes to professional sports, became the first city in the NHL’s modern era to lose two teams. In 1980, the Flames left “da A” for Calgary.

The move was made because of Atlanta Spirit’s unwillingness to continue funding the Thrashers’ operating losses –pegged in court documents at roughly $20 million per year — and inability to find a buyer who would keep the team in Atlanta amid such losses.The Thrashers, who entered the NHL as an expansion team in 1999, struggled on and off the ice for most of their time in Atlanta. They reached the playoffs only once (2007), never won a postseason game and ranked in the league’s bottom four in attendance each of the past three seasons.

Now, hockey fans and critics can blame the Atlanta Spirit and the NHL for not doing enough to keep the franchise in Atlanta all they want to. But the bottom line is the Thrashers – or any other hockey team – will never last in Atlanta because ticket sales and attendance will always remain low.


I hate to be so blunt, but c’mon, be real.

Whenever I catch a hockey game on TV, which happens once a year, I’ve never see a large number of African Americans in the crowd. And you rarely see sports bars in the ‘hood showing a hockey game on one of its plasma TVs.

According to the 2010 census, the racial composition of the city of Atlanta is 54-percent African American and 33.3-percent Non-Hispanic White. Everyone knows that hockey has a 99-percent Caucasian fan base and a 1-percent African American fan base (and it might not even be that much).

Even with 25 active black players in the NHL, the sport still doesn’t grab the attention of African Americans. It’s obvious that hockey and black people just don’t mix.

And apparently the NHL notices it as well. The NHL leaves a metro area of more than 5 million people — the United States’ eighth largest TV market — for a city of 700,000 in hockey-loving Canada.

As an Atlanta native, I really do hate to see the Thrashers leave the city. But I have to admit; in the 11 years that the team has been in this city I have never attended a single game. And I only know one black person who has actually attended a game. However, she only went because she got the tickets for free.

So, let’s face it. A hockey will never last in Atlanta, “the Black Mecca,” no matter how hard they try to keep a team in the city.