The NHL Could Return To A Familiar Place With Its Next Expansion Team

Published September 12, 2023 at 7:07 PM

The NHL has seen several cities gain and lose teams over the years. With expansion going so well over the past couple of attempts in Vegas and Seattle fans are wondering what city will be next. Today Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly spoke on that exact topic.

Hockey Returns To Atlanta?

The Atlanta Thrashers have been defunct since their move to Winnipeg in 2011. Many hockey fans have been wondering if the city would get yet another shot at making an NHL teamwork.

Of course, the first iteration of hockey in Atlanta was the Atlanta Flames who played in the NHL from 1972 to 1980. Then of course the beloved Atlanta Thrashers with one of the most unique logos in all of sports from 1999-2011. Since then Atlanta has been without hockey. However, according to Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, the NHL still thinks Atlanta could be an NHL city.

Daly Speaks On Atlanta Expansion

In a recent interview, Deputy Commissioner of the NHL Bill Daly spoke specifically about Atlanta as an NHL city.

I think some of the challenges that we've seen in the past in Atlanta can be overcome. I think times have changed pretty dramatically and the market demographics have changed pretty dramatically since the first time we went there and then again in 1999. I think a lot of bigger businesses are in Atlanta (now)

Daly references the changing demographic of the city of Atlanta. It has become more of a bigger business town than it used to be. More people from different backgrounds are becoming hockey fans as well.

Daly also references that the NHL has an open-door policy when it comes to expansion proposals. As long as a team and a city have a plan they are willing to listen

There are potential markets that may be suitable for NHL hockey, so our policy is really an open-door policy," he said. "If you are interested and have a plan, come see us and certainly we'll evaluate it from there. If it becomes something our owners are interested in, we can pursue it. Nothing has risen to that level currently, but that could change."

Part of the plan has to include an NHL-ready arena. Daly also says that not only is the quality of an NHL stadium important but its location within the city as well.

I also think that rink location will be important with any decision to locate a franchise in Atlanta," he said. "I think if you use the Braves as an example, they struggled, as I understand it, attendance-wise for years, even though they had a very successful team on the field. Their latest stadium is in a perfect location and sells out regularly

All of these factors would have to come together under one ownership group. Getting an expansion NHL team off the ground is a monumental process. If the Atlanta market can figure out an arena and garner fan support we could see an NHL team in Atlanta in the near future.

As Read On - The Score - NHL open to Atlanta expansion again: 'Times have changed pretty dramatically'
September 12   |   54 answers
The NHL Could Return To A Familiar Place With Its Next Expansion Team

Will the Atlanta Thrashers return to the NHL as an expansion team?

Yes1222.2 %
No4277.8 %
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