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This Day in Georgia History

June 25, 1997

National Hockey League Awarded Franchise to Atlanta

For more on the Atlanta Thrashers, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

The National Hockey League officially awarded a National Hockey League franchise to Atlanta’s Ted Turner, who announced his new team would be known as the “Thrashers” in recognition of Georgia’s state bird, the Brown Thrasher. The Thrashers were Atlanta’s second professional NHL team, following the Atlanta Flames, who played in Atlanta from 1972 until 1980, when the team was sold and moved to Calgary, Canada. The Thrashers would face a variety of challenges, and continuing financial losses for the franchise led to the sale of the team on May 20, 2011, to new owners, who announced that the franchise would move to Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada. On June 21, 2011, the NHL approved the sale, and the new owners announced that the Atlanta Thrashers would be renamed the Winnipeg Jets.