Tampa Bay, Florida. Raleigh, North Carolina. Those are two pretty damn Southern cities, I'd have to say. Stanley Cup winners. Hockey isn't JUST a northern sport any longer... in fact, it never really has been a northern-only sport. We've had hockey down here for decades. Anyone remember the Atlanta Flames?
Here in metro Atlanta, hockey has flourished thanks mostly to the Thrashers. We have a local minor-league AA team, the Gladiators, not even 30 minutes (with no traffic, of course) away from Philips Arena. Peewee teams have popped up everywhere. Hockey is now no longer restricted to the north. Anyone that thinks it only belongs up north needs to seriously open their minds. We may still be a bit more obsessed with other sports, like football, baseball, and basketball, but to me, anyways, hockey is a very close 2nd after baseball.
There's nothing like it. At all. So I thought I'd do a little comparison. At my office, my entire floor has been talking about the World Cup for weeks. So, about two weeks ago, I attempted to sit down and watch a game. I don't remember which countries played, but it doesn't matter. I was bored out of my everloving mind. I mean, I would be more entertained watching paint dry...and, in fact, I HAVE been more entertained watching paint dry...I mean, I used to work at an Ace Hardware store for over 8 years. There's only one Cup series to watch...the Stanley Cup.
Speaking of which, I'm glad the Hurricanes won it, for a few reasons. One, it proves that hockey isn't a northern-only thing. Tampa and now Carolina have won the cup: Both in the Southeast Division, the same as the Thrashers. There's no reason anyone should ever put down or disrespect Southern hockey teams any longer. Another reason I'm happy is because the Thrashers have faired very well against the 'Canes...meaning we can compete with and beat the now Stanley Cup Champs.
I know, I know... I haven't written in this thing in a while. I did end up at the one Gladiators game that they won, I think the final score was 6-1. We sat right on the glass for $25 a ticket. Not bad considering Thrashers glass tickets are $250 a piece!
But the Gladiators were taken down by the Alaska Aces the very next game...but they had a helluva a season.
So now the Stanley Cup is over. Carolina won. They can have their fun. Because this season or 07-08, the Thrashers are gonna bring the Cup to the ATL. There's only one really exciting thing now that the playoffs are over: The 2006-2007 Schedule has gotta be out soon!!!
I am looking even MORE forward to the hockey season now that our beloved Braves, after 14 years of winning, have fallen into last place. This is a hockey blog, so I won't even get started on THAT. But it's all the more reason to get excited about a team we know is going to win. I'm not expecting a Cup next season, although it'd be incredible, of course... I'm expecting us to at least make the playoffs. From there, who knows what'll happen.
I'm not quite sure when my next post will be in this blog. But I'll let you know that my season ticket rep sent me a set of were-going-to-be Thrashers playoff tickets. They are BEAUTIFUL and are a representation of dreams and hops that may soon come.
There's this one kid I work with who is, or at least claims to be, on the inside with the Thrashers. He knows every stat and about ever player and claims I'm not "True Blue" because I don't know everything he does. It's not even about knowing stats and enough trivia to win a hockey trivia contest. That's GREAT if you care about all that stuff...and yes, it's important...but you don't have to know the history of every single player and every single state to be True Blue.
True Blue is being first in line. True Blue is being the FIRST ever to get a jersey in the jersey trade in program. True Blue is going to Thrashers practices to watch and get autographs and meet player. True Blue is going to every single possible Thrashers game and watching every away game on TV. True Blue is making plans to go to a few away games this coming season. True Blue is having your heart race in the 3rd period and shootout because you gotta go home with a win. True Blue is having a hockey blog of your own. True Blue is simply pure hockey love with a dash of loyalty to your home team and a sprinkle of pride in being a Thrashers fan. True Blue is flying the Thrashers flag on your car every game...even if you rode MARTA (our subway) and no Thrashers fans see your flag.
So, this post will now come to an end. Like I said, nothing much at this point is going on. If the Thrashers make any big pickups in the draft or any big news happens, I'll be writing. If nothing else, as soon as the schedule is out, I'll be here praising or bitching about it. I'm hoping soon after the schedule comes out, my season tickets arrive...it will be just like the scene in Fever Pitch when he gets his Red Sox season tickets...I'll be waiting by my mailbox. Seriously, I will be waiting out there for my tickets...lawn chair, cold beer, and all.
For now, this Thrashers fan has other things to attend to.