An Open Letter To Thrashers Fans
Wednesday, 07.20.2011 / 11:07 AM
Hi all. I’m not going to pretend that losing your team doesn’t suck. I lived in Augusta, GA for four years, and those little fellas in the blue jerseys grew on me in that time. Even the avant-garde blue home jerseys with ATLANTA printed down one sleeve – eventually those became one of my favorites in the league because they were different.
I would like to do two things in addressing you all as brothers and sisters in hockey. The first is please go support the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL if you don’t do so already. It’s a beautiful arena, the show is top-notch for an ECHL franchise, and you’ll be completely amazed at how affordable it is. Spending four years in the ECHL I can honestly tell you there are some very talented players at that level, and a lot of kids who still have the fire and the dream of playing in the NHL some day. Please go see them play. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Second, when you get a craving for NHL action, consider heading up here to Nashville to see the Preds play. We know that if you were with the Thrashers through thick and thin you will have a lot more in common with our fans than you know. And wear your Thrashers gear! Show that hockey is alive and well in Atlanta even if your team ended up in Winnipeg. We welcome you with open arms and Tennessee hospitality to Bridgestone Arena, and I truly think you’ll enjoy the atmosphere in our building, which is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best crowds in all of hockey.
If there’s any impetus for you to want to come up and check out a game, you can really let your emotions wreak havoc with you on September 24 when the Jets come to town to play the Predators in pre-season action (check out the Preds special Thrash-to-Smash ticket offer). It should be interesting to see how much has changed, and how much won’t, once the team hits the ice for training camp.
As a quick guide for you, I’ll give you the short list of names to become familiar with – consider it your Preds Fan Primer:
Shea Weber – D
Team captain, booming shot. Put the puck through the net in the Olympics en route to a gold medal. Norris Trophy runner-up this year to Nicklas Lidstrom. Hits like a truck.
Pekka Rinne – G
Vezina Trophy finalist this year in what should be the first of many kicks at that particular can. Definitely the Predators MVP this year, without his acrobatic play who knows where the team would have finished. His play had some on our team muttering perhaps he should have been league MVP! Another great in the making.
Ryan Suter – D
The American-born counterpart to Weber on defense. Won Silver at the Olympics, and his family has an Olympic past that includes his dad Bob winning gold in 1980 for Team USA. Smart player who moves the puck well and can really cover up a mess with his exceptional play.
Jordin Tootoo – W
Tootoo has long been a fan favorite for his physical play, fiery demeanor, and game intensity. Not the biggest in stature but has a huge heart. Really, everything you need to know is right here.
Patric Hornqvist – W
Goes to the front of the net and takes serious abuse to score goals. If you like lunchpail guys, he’s the one for you.
Martin Erat – W
One of the most offensively talented Preds forwards – scores some great goals and has good speed too.
There are more guys on this team worth knowing like David Legwand, Mike Fisher, Jonathan Blum, and on and on… but I’ll leave you with those and say this: don’t let hockey die. Even if you decide to pick another team, keep the game alive in your city and in your heart. We could all use all the support we can get!
I hope to see you all in Smashville this year – whether in Preds Gold or Thrashers Blue!