James Mirtle is one of the most respected hockey reporters around. He's worked for the Globe and Mail for several years now, and did some moonlighting on SB Nation's own (since defunct) On the Rink. He's always been steadily even handed in his reporting and nothing but friendly and fair with Thrasher fans, so today's article calling out the owners and management of the team is no surprise. It doesn't make it any less rewarding to read.
Canadian hockey fans have had a reputation of yelling about how hockey has been failing in Atlanta because fans don't care, but a vast majority that I have spoken to don't feel that way at all. They've listened to complaints on owners and done their own research, and can see as plain as day that the blame falls squarely on the Atlanta Spirit and on the team's front office - namely the ten years that Don Waddell was allowed to bumble his way through letting talent like Marc Savard, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Marian Hossa slip through his fingers.
It's still nice to see Mirtle put it all in writing, and very much appreciated to see a respected Canadian media member say this:
And they did [fail] so spectacularly, to the point that there's now plenty of blame to go around.
But the biggest heaping should be reserved for both the Atlanta Spirit, one of the more inept ownership groups in a league with a long history of them, and the NHL, for allowing this group to steer the Thrashers into the ground almost from Day 1.
Under the circumstances, it's amazing they had as many fans as they did.
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