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Thrashers owner indicates end is near

We've heard very, very little from the Atlanta Thrashers ownership group, even at this late date and with all indications the team is on the verge of leaving for Winnipeg.

11 Alive News in Atlanta, however, spoke with Rutherford Seydel, one of eight owners in the Atlanta Spirit group, and he appeared to confirm the team will, as expected, relocate in the near future.

"I can't really comment on where we stand," Seydel said. "I can just say that I'm proud of my partners for working hard to keep the Thrashers and paying a lot of money, all of us, to keep the team in town for longer than anybody else has thus far.

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"Unfortunately, there are not enough of us that are passionate at this point in time to keep the team, to replenish what we need to have done."

Various reports today from TSN, Sportsnet and CBC all said an announcement could come as soon as tomorrow.

Here's the audio of Seydel's comments on the situation:

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As an aside, I've heard from many, many Thrashers fans the past few weeks, and their reactions range from disbelief to anger, both at the AS group and the NHL.

Unlike in Phoenix, where the Coyotes saga has played out for more than two years, things in Atlanta have developed fairly quietly and any rumours that the team was in danger of relocating were shot down quickly by the powers that be.

One fan who emailed me last week, a season ticket holder since the team's second season in 2000-01, said they will no longer support the league after the way the team has quietly and quickly been moved.

"I feel as if I'm losing a family member," Lew Blackman wrote. "I will miss the Thrashers and hockey terribly, but I will no longer be able to support it. Between the lies, deceit and incompetence of the NHL and our owners and the disdain from a great many Canadians, I will no longer waste my time, money, effort and energy on the game and the sport."

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There may not be, in other words, many Thrashers fans following the team after it moves on.

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About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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