ATLANTA — The Atlanta Thrashers are going the way of the Atlanta Flames.
The Atlanta Spirit on Tuesday announced they are selling the Thrashers to True North Sports. Pending confirmation by the league and team owners, the team will relocate to Winnipeg.
“It’s extremely disappointing to all of us that it became necessary after all other options were exhausted,” Atlanta Spirit partners Bruce Levenson and Michael Gearon said in a statement. “We want to express our gratitude to you, the fans, for the years of dedication you have offered to the Atlanta Thrashers.”
The team’s owners said they sold the team to True North Sports after they could not find a buyer that would keep the team in Atlanta.
“In recent months, we openly indicated a growing urgency to secure assistance in off-setting our operating losses in hopes that our public plea would produce investors who, to that point, had eluded us,” the owners said.
“After extensive effort, nobody has come forward,” they added. “As a result, we had no choice but to explore the investment option presented to us by the NHL in the form of True North Sports and Entertainment.”
With the Thrashers’ departure, Atlanta will become the first city to lose two NHL franchises, ESPN reported. The Flames relocated to Calgary in 1980.
“Along with thousands of loyal fans, I was disappointed to learn today that the Atlanta Thrashers are leaving the city and relocating to Winnipeg, Canada,” Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement. “I want to thank … the entire Atlanta Thrashers team for the excitement and competitive spirit they brought to our city for the past 14 years. As they move forward, I wish them continued success.”