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Atlanta Thrashers Franchise History

The Atlanta Thrashers are one of the NHL's newest teams. Atlanta was awarded a NHL franchise in 1997 to replace the Atlanta Flames, which departed for Calgary in 1980 and became the Calgary Flames. The newly-formed Thrashers selected Patrik Stefan with their first number-one draft pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. They played their first game on October 2, 1999, losing 4-1 to the New Jersey Devils.

In September 2003 the team was sold to a group of executives by Time Warner, along with the Atlanta Hawks professional basketball team, with which the Thrashers share the arena. That same month brought tragedy as star forward Dany Heatley crashed his Ferrari in a one-car accident that seriously injured Heatley and killed Thrashers center Dan Snyder, who was a passenger in the car. The Thrashers dedicated their 2003-04 NHL season to Snyder's memory. Thrashers players wore black patches with Snyder's number, 37, on their jerseys during the season.

The Thrashers have never made the playoffs in their short history. Their best season was 2003-04, where out of 82 games, they won 33, lost 37, tied 8 and had overtime losses in 4 games.

The Thrashers play in the Southeast Division of NHL's Eastern Conference. They are currently coached by Bob Hartley. The team name and logo come from the brown thrasher, the state bird of Georgia.

2003-2004 Season Recap

The 2003-04 NHL season was the Thrashers most successful. Led by captain Shawn McEachern, and with the memory of Dan Snyder on their mind, the Thrashers jumped quickly out of the gates with some notable highlights. Ilya Kovalchuk scored 8 goals in the first 7 games, including two hat tricks, one in a 7-2 rout of the Chicago Blackhawks, and another in a come from behind victory against the Nashville Predators. Come from behind victories became a standard sight throughout the season, including shocking upsets against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins, and the Ottawa Senators, as well as wins from games against the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Islanders, among others.

Eleven games into the season, the Thrashers were alone in first place atop the NHL. Although they continued to play well, they could not keep up with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the eventual Stanley Cup champions, or other teams in the league. The lack of Dany Heatley and depth in general started showing. December 26, 2003 marked both a bright and dark day for the Thrashers. On that day, Dany Heatley skated for the first time since his car accident with Dan Snyder, but it also marked the last win for the Thrashers before an extended losing streak. From December 28th to February 11th the Thrashers had a dismal 17 losses and 3 ties, with only 1 win. During that time Kovalchuk became only the second Thrashers' player to score in the NHL All-Star Game, an exciting overtime loss to the Red Wings occurred on New Year's Eve, Randy Robitaille broke Brian Boucher's shutout streak, Dany Heatley returned to the ice, and an all-out brawl against the Edmonton Oilers took place. The streak finally ended with a 4-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks.

While clearly the Thrashers playoffs hopes were done for that year, they still played on and ended up finishing 2nd in the Southeast Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference, only a handful of wins away from the playoffs. Ilya Kovalchuk ended up tying for the league lead in goals with 41. Kari Lehtonen started his NHL career with 4 wins and 4 starts, including one shutout. Despite the tragedy of Dan Snyder, the Thrashers pushed on and ended up doing relatively well, and their future certainly looks bright.

Before the start of the 2005-2006 season, the Thrashers picked up many veteran players in the hopes of making the playoffs for the first time. They traded Dany Heatley on August 23, 2005 in a block-buster trade for Marian Hossa, and Greg de Vries. They also signed such players as Mike Dunham, Peter Bondra, Bobby Holik, Jaroslav Modry, and Scott Mellanby.

Third Jersey

The Third Jersey of the Atlanta Thrashers was first seen in the 2004 NHL season. It is a carolina blue in colour and features the same bottom strip pattern seen on its home and away jerseys. One of the most obvious parts of the jersey is the name "Atlanta" scrolled down the left sleeve of the jersey. in a darker blue strip. The Thrashers logo is in the center of the jersey.

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