DULUTH, Ga. (AP) - There are still Thrashers signs outside the IceForum, a rink in suburban Atlanta that used to be the NHL team's practice home.
The Thrashers have become the Winnipeg Jets. They will be playing before sellout crowds every night in hockey-crazed Canada. Atlanta will have to make do with a minor league team after becoming the first city in the NHL's modern era to blow it with not one, but two franchises.
Former Thrashers owner Michael Gearon Jr. says it still hurts to lose the team, especially with the start of a new season. But he insists the ownership group known as Atlanta Spirit had no other choice except to sell the franchise because of staggering financial losses.
Now, the only hockey team in town is the ECHL's Gwinnett Gladiators.