Nothing is more sacred to many Atlantans than the World Series title against the Cleveland Indians in 1995. The MVP of that series – and of many of the Atlanta Braves’ best seasons – was pitcher Tom Glavine. Glavine hails from Concord, MA and has quite the background in sports outside of baseball. Most Atlantans think of his other dabblings as inconsequential in comparison with his baseball career, and they might be right in the grand scheme of things. It’s those other sports that might just help Glavine spearhead an effort to keep hockey in Atlanta.
Glavine lettered in hockey in high school, and was voted his team’s MVP his senior year. He had an outstanding season, even by high school hockey standards, with 47 goals and 47 assists. His solid play caught the attention of professional scouts, and he was drafted 69th overall in the 4th round of the 1984 NHL entry draft by the LA Kings. He felt his future would be more secure in baseball, though, and he chose to go with the Braves, who also drafted him in 1984.
Who knows what could have become of Glavine had he stuck with hockey? He was drafted before Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille, for pete’s sake. He still enjoys the game, with his son playing for the same team as Nik Antropov’s son. The coach? Glavine. Heck, he was even signed by the Gwinnett Gladiators for some PR. He pops up at Thrashers games from time to time, and has been a pretty vocal supporter of the team in the past. It stands to reason that he’d be upset if the team up and moved to the tundras of Winnipeg or to the land of poutine and maple syrup (which actually doesn’t sound bad).
So, as someone with considerable clout in the metro area, Glavine is deciding to do what he can to keep the Thrashers in the ATL. No, he doesn’t have the money to buy the whole team, but he could be part of a group of investors that actually care about owning a hockey team. Bettman expects the team to be in Atlanta next year, so this gives Glavine time to drum up support.
Does this mean that the Thrashers are saved? Duh, of course not. Does it help a ton to have a local sports god come out and say “hey, I care about this team, I have faith in this team, and I want to make sure that they have a chance”? Absolutely – this might be, from an Atlantan’s standpoint, the best news about the team’s shaky ownership situation in a long time.
Heck, I’m not a Braves fan (at all) but if Glavine manages to save this team, I will seriously consider buying an uber jersey foul: