The Atlanta sports scene is not exactly known for its hockey prowess, especially considering the enormous letdown that was the Atlanta Thrashers franchise.
The now-defunct Thrashers missed the playoffs in all but one season since their inception in the 1999-2000 season, and in 2006-2007 they followed up their only Southeast Division title by getting swept in the first round of the playoffs at the hands of the New York Rangers.
Waning fan interest and an almost complete lack of success led to the team’s relocation to Winnipeg in 2011.
But far prior to the Thrashers taking the baton in 1999, the city had another team all to itself that was actually quite successful: the Atlanta Flames, who made the playoffs in six of their eight seasons in the NHL before relocating.
The precursor to the modern day Calgary Flames, the Atlanta Flames paved the way for two other NHL franchises: the Calgary Flames and the Atlanta Thrashers.
Check out a short video about the team and their history from YouTube user HybridIcing below:
All-Star Players in Atlanta Flames History
Seven Atlanta Flames players have been the All-Star Game in the team’s history, including:
-Randy Manery (1973)
-Al McDonough (1974)
-Tom Lysiak (1975, 1976, and 1977)
-Curt Bennett (1975 and 1976)
-Eric Vail (1977)
-Bill Clement (1978)
-Kent Nilsson (1980)
Perhaps their best known player of all-time was Pat Quinn, who was taken in the expansion draft in 1972. He went on to become team captain of the fledgling Atlanta franchise before retiring due to an ankle injury in 1977.
Quinn later went on to coach Team Canada to a gold medal in the 2002 Olympics as well as a World Cup of Hockey gold medal in 2004. The Hall-of-Famer also led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1980 as head coach and the Canucks to the same stage in 1994 as GM.
The Atlanta Flames: Gone But Not Forgotten
While the city of Atlanta did have the opportunity to experience seven competitive seasons over the course of its hockey history (nod to the Thrashers for their one respectable season), the hockey history of “the ATL” remains a mixed bag.
For all their success, the original Atlanta Flames folded due to lack of fan interest, and you’d be hard-pressed to find many NHL fans with memories of the ill-fated franchise.
The good news is that the Atlanta Flames will live on, not just in the memories of those who saw them, but also on the modern day Calgary Flames’ jerseys: the “A” patch on the right corner of their jerseys is an ode to the original squad, an omnipresent sight as the team celebrates its 40th season in 2020.
The Flames’ 2019-2020 opening video leaves out the Atlanta franchise, as seen below.
But it’s safe to say that without the long forgotten (and underappreciated) Atlanta Flames, one of the NHL’s most colorful Canadian franchises never would have made it this far.
Through the patch, the original Flames will live on.