Late last week NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly appeared on a Winnipeg radio show (Illegal Curve) and in the course of the discussion the status of Atlanta as an NHL market came up. The story gained some momentum when Yahoo!’s Puck Daddy blog recapped the interview.
Last night during the second intermission of the Thrashers/Penguins game Thrashers TV analyst Darren Eliot spoke to Thrashers President Don Waddell about Billy Daly’s comments. Here is what Waddell had to say:
“I can tell you, we’re not moving. We are committed to trying to make it work in Atlanta. We need the support of the fans obviously and if we continue with the product we have now, there’s been a lot of reasons over the years not to come watch the Thrashers. Now there’s no reasons any more.
We’ve got a lot of people we turned off over the years. We haven’t won enough for people’s liking. This team is not only winning now but it’s exciting to watch. We need support from the fans- there’s no doubt about it. That’s where our revenue streams come from. We have some great loyal fans that come to the arena and make a lot of noise. We know the market size of Atlanta with 4.5 million people and we need to have the opportunity with this hockey club to draw more people.
I can’t emphasize enough, our goal is to make it a strong hockey market in Atlanta. People have asked for a competitive team- we’re very competitive right now. We’re out beating the drum. We need to get more people out there.”