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The Atlanta Thrashers are a professional ice hockey team based in Atlanta, Georgiamarker. They are a member of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). Since the team's inception, their home games have been played at Philips Arenamarker in downtown Atlanta. The Thrashers have qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs once in their nine seasons in the NHL, during the 2006–07 season.

Franchise history

Atlanta was awarded a NHL franchise on June 25, 1997. This marked a return to Atlanta, Georgiamarker by the NHL. The old Atlanta Flames team departed for Calgarymarker in 1980 and became the Calgary Flames.

The nickname "Thrashers", after Georgia'smarker state bird, the brown thrasher, was selected from a fan poll. "Thrashers" had actually been runner-up to "Flames" for Atlanta's first NHL team and Philips Arenamarker, the Thrashers' new home, was built on the site of the former Omnimarker, which had been home to the Flames. By coincidence, the first encampment (circa 1839) which would later become Atlanta was called Thrasherville, and a historical marker of this is located just down from the arena in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

First season

The newly-formed Thrashers selected Patrik Štefan with the first overall selection and Luke Sellars with their thirtieth overall pick (second pick of the second round) in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. However, the entire 1999 NHL Entry Draft was a major disappointment for the Thrashers, as only one of their eleven draft picks (Garnet Exelby, selected in the eighth round, 217th overall) continues to play in the NHL as of 2009. Their first two picks (Štefan and Sellars) were called two of the biggest disappointments in draft history; listed Štefan as the worst first overall pick of all-time and Sellars as the worst thirtieth overall pick in NHL history. This was a major surprise as not only was Štefan hyped by the media to be a franchise player, but Thrashers GM Don Waddell was considered by hockey experts as a man with excellent scouting ability.

The Thrashers played their first game on October 2, 1999, losing 4–1 to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the New Jersey Devils. Captain Kelly Buchberger scored the franchise's first goal in the loss. The team went on to finish their first season in last place with a record of 14 wins, 61 losses and 7 ties for a total of 39 points. The team ended up with the number 2 pick in the next draft, which brought better results for the team. With the second overall pick they chose Dany Heatley, who went on to become one of the Thrashers best players until he was traded to the Ottawa Senators on August 23, 2005, for Marian Hossa and Greg de Vries.


On September 21, 2003, the team was sold to a group of Atlanta Spirit, LLC by Time Warner, along with the National Basketball Association's Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta Spirit consists of Bruce Levenson, Ed Pestkowitz, Rutherford Seydel, Beau Turner, Michael Gearon, Sr., Michael Gearon, Jr., Felix Riccio and Steve Belkin.

That same month brought tragedy as just eight days later, star forward Dany Heatley crashed his Ferrarimarker in a one-car accident that seriously injured him (broken jaw and arm, sprained wrist, torn ACL and MCL) and severely injured Thrashers center Dan Snyder, who died five days later due to infection stemming from the accident. The Thrashers dedicated their 2003–04 NHL season in Snyder's memory. Heatley's blood alcohol content was far below the legal limit, but his combination of speeding (he was driving an estimated 80 miles per hour) and recklessness led to criminal charges (eventually settled with three years' probation and a penalty of community service).

Thrashers players wore black patches with Snyder's number, 37, on their jerseys. At the end of the season, Heatley requested a trade for personal reasons. Heatley was traded to Ottawa in a move that brought Marian Hossa, a four-time 30 goal scorer at the time of the trade, to Atlanta. At the end of the 06–07 season, Hossa had made his mark as the first Thrasher to score 100 points in one season, eclipsing Ilya Kovalchuk's franchise record of 98 points.

The Thrashers clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in team history in the 2006–2007 season, while also capturing the first division championship in franchise history. They were swept 4–0 in the first round of the playoffs by the New York Rangers.

2003–04 season

Led by captain Shawn McEachern, the Thrashers jumped quickly out of the gate with some notable highlights. Ilya Kovalchuk scored eight goals in the first seven games, including two hat tricks, one in a 7–2 rout of the Chicago Blackhawks and another in a come-from-behind victory against the Nashville Predators. Those comeback victories became a recurring sight throughout the season, including shocking upsets against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins, and the Ottawa Senators, as well as wins from games against the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Islanders.

Eleven games into the season, the Thrashers were alone in first place atop both the Southeast Division the NHL. Although they continued to play well, they could not keep up with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the eventual Stanley Cup champions, or other teams in the league. The absence of Heatley and a lack of depth started to appear. Boxing Day 2003 marked both a bright and dark day for the Thrash. On that day, Heatley skated for the first time since his car accident with Snyder, but it also marked the last win for the Thrashers before an extended losing streak. From December 28 to February 11 the Thrashers went a dismal 1–17–3. However, fans were entertained regardless of the team's struggles. Kovalchuk became only the second Thrashers' player to score in the NHL All-Star Game (after Heatley), an exciting overtime 4–1 win against the Vancouver Canucks.

While the Thrashers' playoff hopes were done for the year, they still played on and ended up finishing second in the Southeast Division and tenth in the Eastern Conference, only a handful of wins away from the playoffs. Kovalchuk ended up tying for the league lead in goals (41) with Jarome Iginla and Rick Nash. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen started his NHL career with four wins in four starts, including one shutout.

2005–06 season

Before the start of the 2005–06 season, the Thrashers picked up many veteran players in the hopes of making the playoffs for the first time. They signed Mike Dunham, Peter Bondra, Bobby Holik, Jaroslav Modry, and Scott Mellanby. They traded Dany Heatley on August 23, 2005, to the Ottawa Senators, in a blockbuster deal for forward Marian Hossa and defenseman Greg de Vries.

The 2005–06 season saw the Thrashers win a club-record 41 games, even with numerous goaltending injuries. Only a few minutes into the first game of the season, Lehtonen pulled his groin, an injury that would keep him out for a good portion of the season. Veteran backup Mike Dunham, an experienced number-one net minder, stepped in, but also promptly injured himself only a few games later; this left only prospects Michael Garnett and Adam Berkhoel to mind the nets. Journeyman goalie Steve Shields was signed, but he too was injured within ten games. On April 6, Lehtonen was run into by Tampa Bay's Chris Dingman, injuring him yet again. The remainder of the season was left to Dunham. Garnett was injured in a game against the Washington Capitals. Dunham, who had started the game but was relieved by the young rookie after poor play, was forced back into action in the third period.

2006–07 season

[[Image:Atlanta Tharshaers Champs.jpg|thumb|Banner in Philips Arena in honor of the Thrashers' first division championship in 2006-2007.]]

The Atlanta Thrashers 2006–07 season began with the highest expectations in franchise history, even with the offseason loss of their second leading scorer, Marc Savard to the Boston Bruins. Veteran center, Steve Rucchin, Niko Kapanen, and Jon Sim were acquired in hopes help fill the Savard loss. With NHL superstars Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk and a healthy goaltender, Kari Lehtonen, the Thrashers clinched the first playoff berth and won the Southeast Division claiming the #3 seed and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. However, they were eliminated from the playoffs on April 18, being swept by the New York Rangers in four straight games in the Quarterfinals.


October 13, 2006, the first official event on the new SportSouth was a National Hockey League game between the Atlanta Thrashers and the Carolina Hurricanes. The Thrashers ended up losing 4–3, giving the Hurricanes their first win of the season. On April 24, 2007, team captain Scott Mellanby announced his retirement. On October 17, coach Bob Hartley was fired after an 0–6 start.

January 27, 2008, The NHL All-Star Game was played for the first time in Philips Arena matching the Eastern Conference All-Stars vs. the Western Conference All-Stars with the East winning 8–7 on former Thrasher Marc Savard scoring the game winner late in the third period. Savard spurned Atlanta for a 2–year deal with Boston after the 2005–06 season but was cheered on by the crowd the entire night. The game was originally scheduled for the 2004–05 season but due to the lockout, 2008 was the next available date.

November 3, 2008, A Maryland court will begin proceedings on February 17, to decide the fate of the Thrashers' ownership.A dispute between Steve Belkin and his seven fellow owners dates back to 2005. Belkin claims the other owners breached their contract, giving him the right to buy them out at cost, while his counterparts say they should be able to buy out Belkin's30% stake.

Team colors and mascot

Introduced in 2003 as an alternate, the team has since made it their official home jersey (2006–07).
Home jersey (1999–2003); current away (2003–07).


The current team colors are ice blue, navy blue, red, and gold. In 2003, the NHL decided to switch home and road jerseys. In 2007, Reebok came out with the new jerseys as part of the rollout of the RBK Edge Uniform System. The piping has only changed for the Thrasher's jerseys. Atlanta unveiled its new third jersey, red with white and gold trim on October 10, 2008.


The team's mascot is Thrash, a Brown Thrasher.


The Blue Crew.

Statistics and records

Individual records

Regular season

Season-by-season record

This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Thrashers. For the full season-by-season history, see Atlanta Thrashers seasons

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Season GP W L T OTL Pts GF GA PIM Finish Playoffs
2004–05 Season cancelled due to 2004–05 NHL lockout
2005–061 82 41 33 8 90 281 275 1318 3rd, Southeast Did not qualify
2006–07 82 43 28 11 97 246 245 1097 1st, Southeast Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 0–4 (Rangers)
2007–08 82 34 40 8 76 216 272 1077 4th, Southeast Did not qualify
2008–09 82 35 41 6 76 257 280 - 4th, Southeast Did not qualify

1 As of the 2005–06 NHL season, all games tied after regulation will be decided in a shootout; SOL (Shootout losses) will be recorded as OTL in the standings.


Current roster

Team captains

Honored Members

Hall of Famers: Currently, no member of the Thrashers has been inducted into the Hall of Famemarker, long time fan and country music sensation Kenny Rogers has been recently named an honorary captain.

Retired Numbers:

Franchise scoring leaders

These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.

Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; * = current Thrashers player

Points Goals Assists
Player Pos GP G A Pts P/G
Ilya Kovalchuk* LW 562 311 270 581 1.02
Slava Kozlov* LW 504 141 262 403 0.81
Marian Hossa RW 222 108 140 248 1.11
Marc Savard C 184 63 133 196 1.07
Dany Heatley RW 190 80 101 181 0.95
Patrik Stefan C 413 59 118 177 0.43
Ray Ferraro C 223 56 91 147 0.66
Todd White* C 172 39 78 117 0.71
Andrew Brunette LW 158 38 71 109 0.69
Yannick Tremblay D 300 33 74 107 0.36
Player Pos G
Ilya Kovalchuk* LW 311
Slava Kozlov* LW 141
Marian Hossa RW 108
Dany Heatley RW 80
Marc Savard C 63
Patrik Stefan C 59
Ray Ferraro C 56
Bobby Holik C 41
Todd White RW 39
Bryan Little LW 38
Player Pos A
Ilya Kovalchuk* LW 270
Slava Kozlov* LW 262
Marian Hossa RW 140
Marc Savard C 133
Patrik Stefan C 118
Dany Heatley RW 101
Ray Ferraro C 91
Frantisek Kaberle D 82
Todd White* C 78
Yannick Tremblay D 74

NHL awards and trophies

Calder Memorial Trophy

Rocket Richard Trophy


The giant fire-breathing birdheads at Philips Arena, lit when the players are introduced before the game and when the Thrashers score a goal

The Atlanta Thrashers are broadcast on cable television on SportSouth, which is available in many Deep South states. Until October 13, 2006, SportSouth was known as Turner South. In 2009–10, the channel will broadcast about 75% of the team's schedule. Broadcasts are occasionally available on Fox Sports South, which will air one game in 2009–10. Outside of the league's contract with NBC, the team has no broadcast (over-the-air) TV contract; thus, games are only available on television to fans with cable or satellite.

Radio coverage includes play-by-play of all games on 680 The Fanmarker -- an AM sports station in Atlanta. The station is the flagship of a network that includes 18 stations. Most are in Georgia, but there are two affiliates in South Carolinamarker and one in Scottsboro, Alabamamarker.


See also


External links

Fan Links

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