The Atlanta Thrashers franchise is the newest of the city's professional sports teams. The National Hockey League awarded the franchise to Atlanta in 1997 to begin play in the 1999-2000 season. The Thrashers became the 28th NHL franchise. The team was named for the Georgia state bird, the brown thrasher. The team's first head coach was Curt Fraser.
During the team's first five years, they did not have a winning season. The Thrashers finally had their first winning season in 2005-06, when they finished the season with a 41-33 record. In 2006-07 the Thrashers finished the regular season with a 43-28 record and qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in franchise history. They lost in the quarterfinals to the New York Rangers. Then the team again began to struggle. The Thrashers started out slowly this season, but they had a great November. They dominated some of the NHL's best teams including the Detroit Red Wings, the Washington Capitals, and the Boston Bruins. With 19 wins and 13 losses so far this season, the Thrashers are currently in 3rd place in the Southeast Division and 6th place in the Eastern Conference. Dustin Byfuglien is the team's leading goal scorer thus far with 13 on the season. Five of those have been game winning goals. Andrew Ladd has 12 goals on the season.
The Thrashers' current head coach is Craig Ramsey. Hired in June 2010, Ramsey is the team's 5th head coach. He brings over 40 years of NHL experience to the Thrashers. Ramsey played 14 seasons with the Boston Bruins, from 1971-85. He has spent years as a coach and talent evaluator with six different NHL organizations. Ramsey came to Atlanta after several seasons with the Boston Bruins.
The Thrashers skate their home games at Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta. The team holds their practices at the IceForum in Duluth, Georgia. This is a good place for fans to try to get player autographs, as many players often stay after practice and sign things.
Atlanta hockey fans are excited about the Thrashers' prospects this season. There is plenty of season left, with the last game of the regular season scheduled for April 10. Thrasher fans would love to see the team advance to the Playoffs this year.