February 16th, 2011
by goon

One cities loss could be another cities gain. Here is an interesting story that could affect hockey fans that live close to Winnipeg Manitoba. Roseau native Dustin Byfuglien has a new contract with the Atlanta Trasher but will he be playing closer to home? According to the Atlanta Constitution the Thrasher are losing a boat load of money and they probably won’t be able to continue losing millions every year.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution — Atlanta Spirit co-owner Michael Gearon said there is now a “sense of urgency” to find additional investors or a buyer willing to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta. If the ownership group does not get additional financial help in the near future the franchise could be sold and moved to another city.

“If we are faced with that as the only alternative, that’s what’s going to happen,” Gearon told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an exclusive interview Tuesday. “I don’t think there is an ability to stomach another $20 million in losses. We just can’t do it.

“The reality is we need fans showing up and we need investors, or a primary investor.”

There is no buyer currently lined up to purchase the Thrashers, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The Thrashers have long been the subject of speculation that the franchise would be sold and moved with Canadian cities Winnipeg, Quebec and Hamilton most often mentioned

Atlanta Spirit has been trying to sell the Thrashers for six years – starting almost immediately after purchasing the team – according to the Jan. 21 lawsuit filed in Fulton County Superior Court against Atlanta law firm King & Spalding.

The group filed a $200 million malpractice lawsuit against the firm saying a “fatally flawed” and “botched” contract written to buyout former partner Steve Belkin prevented any Thrashers sale the nearly five years before that suit was finally settled in December.

Before the current litigation, the Atlanta Spirit stated publicly that it was looking for investors for the past two years for the Thrashers, Hawks or both franchises. According to the lawsuit, ownership reported more than $130 million in operating losses since 2005. The Thrashers value also has dropped by more than $50 million, the document says.

“I want to see this team in Atlanta,” Gearon said. “We are working to keep it in Atlanta. We need others to step in and help and, as of now, no one in the Atlanta community has.”

Read the full original article…

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