The annual “select-a-seat” event, that the Thrashers debuted in 1999, is staged for current and potential season-ticket buyers to come and check out the seats, look at the ice and talk about the upcoming NHL draft.
Now the future is uncertain, at best.
“We’ve been lied to for six years,” Jenn Peters, 30, said while choking back tears as she flipped through a collection of ticket stubs. “It’s hard to watch as a fan because there’s nothing you can do but show up. You can voice your opinion and you can show up, but that’s all you can do.”
It hardly helped the mood that Harry the Hawk, the mascot of Atlanta's NBA club that is also owned by the Atlanta Spirit, rode up on a scooter, hopped off and handed out some high-fives before stopping to put his mouth over the head of Zanna Huff, a bystander wearing a Thrashers jersey.
“Now he’s trying to eat my girlfriend’s head, which is disgusting,” said Bryce McNeil, a 33-year-old professor at Georgia State. “Having Harry the Hawk here _ it’s not that I have anything against the Hawks, but it’s the Atlanta Spirit shoving their other asset in our face, which is just deplorable.”
Thrash, the hockey team’s mascot, didn’t make it out in the 90-degree heat until three hours into the event, but no players or members of the front office were in attendance. On the Internet, atlantathrashers.com didn’t mention the gathering, but salespeople were inside the arena processing credit card orders.
“This city will support a team,” Baron said. “You’ve just got to get rid of the management. It’s a very poorly run organization and what (NHL commissioner) Gary Bettman said the other night was true _ that it’s a funny way to show it by not buying tickets _ but the problem is if you come and buy tickets you’re stuck with this ownership group forever. It’s a double-edged sword.”
It seemed appropriate that the team had no promotional presence at the “Gulch,” the local nickname for the poorly paved parking lot outside Philips Arena and the Georgia Dome.
This get-together was all about the fans and ownership’s betrayal, said Deborah Petersen, a 36-year-old massage therapist.
She and her husband, Joe, were engaged at a December 2006 game. Those were great days for the Thrashers, who were legitimate playoff contenders and had two compelling scorers in Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa.View Entire Story
By Elaine Donnelly
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