Atlanta (pronounced /ætˈlæntə/) is the capital and the most populous city of the US state of Georgia, and the core city of the ninth most populous metropolitan area in the United States. It has a population of 660,285 inhabitants and a metro population of over 7,000,000
Atlanta was awarded an NHL franchise for the 1972-1973 season along with the New York Islanders as part of the battle between the NHL and the WHA. The NHL was trying to keep the WHA out of the newer arenas that were being built, including Atlanta's Omni Coliseum. The arena was being built for the Atlanta Hawks and the owner of the Hawks, Tom Cousins, purchased the expansion team. After eight, somewhat successful seasons in Atlanta, where the team qualified for the playoffs six times, the team was sold and moved to Calgary, Alberta and became the Calgary Flames.
The Atlanta Knights were purchased as an expansion team in the International Hockey League, after four successful seasons in Atlanta, including a Turner Cup win in 1994, the team was moved to Quebec City in 1996 and became the Rafales (French for Gust of Wind), which ironically, is another former NHL city that had recently lost its team. This was done to make way for the demolition of the Omni Coliseum, the construction of Philips Arena on the same site, and for the Atlanta Thrashers franchise to join the National Hockey League for the 1999-2000 season.
The Thrashers franchise was formally granted on June 25, 1997. The team struggled on the ice and at the gate, only qualifying for the playoffs once in their history. The team was sold to Winnipeg based True North Sports and Entertainment in May of 2011, On June 21, 2011 the National Hockey League approved the sale and relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg to become the NHL's second incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets.
Atlanta hosted the 2008 NHL All-Star Game, after the city was originally slated to host the 2005 event, which was cancelled due to the lockout which cancelled the entire season.
Presently, the only professional hockey team in the Atlanta metropolitan area is the Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL, based in the northeast suburb of Duluth since 2003, making them the longest-operating professional hockey team in the metro area.
- Atlanta Jr. Knights (acutally based out of Marietta)
- (Southeast Junior Hockey League, 2007-2011) league renamed EJHL South
- (Metropolitan Junior Hockey League, 2008-2011)
- (EJHL South, 2011-2013) join United States Premier Hockey League with two teams
- (United States Premier Hockey League-Empire, 2013-Present)
- (United States Premier Hockey League-Elite, 2013-Present)
- Atlanta Fire Ants (1994-1994) becam Oklahoma Coyotes
- The Omni Colisuem (1972-1997) normally referred to at "The Omni" demolished to make was for the Philips Arena on the same site
- State Farm Arena(1999-Present)
- Centennial Olympic Park Rink
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