2011 NEWS

2011 NEWS > 4/21/11

GLAVINE COULD INVEST TO KEEP THRASHERS IN ATLANTA

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tom Glavine wants to make one thing perfectly clear

“I am not buying the Thrashers,” the Braves pitching great said Thursday.

Glavine said his main interest is in keeping the Thrashers in Atlanta. And he is willing to do whatever he can — perhaps even becoming a partial investor — to help ensure the city does not lose an NHL franchise for a second time.

“I have a huge interest in hockey and the Thrashers,” Glavine said. “I would hate to see them leave. My kids play hockey. It’s a big part of our lives. We want to be able to keep going to games.

“I’m trying to do whatever I can do to keep the team here. Whether that is putting together a group locally or finding someone from outside the area. Any way my involvement will help, I am willing to do it.”

Glavine said he has spoken with Atlanta Spirit co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. He also has had more in-depth conversations with team president Don Waddell. Glavine attended the Thrashers’ season finale April 10 and met with team officials. The process has not moved to the point of signing a non-disclosure agreement to look at the organization’s financial records.

“Initially I was interested in talking to people locally that might have the wherewithal to make it work,” Glavine said. “Anything I can do. At the end of the day, whether I’m involved or not, I want the team to stay here.”

Glavine was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings (fourth round, No. 69 overall) before choosing a baseball career. It worked out, as the left-hander won 305 games and had his No. 47 retired by the Braves last season. The two-time Cy Young Award winner will be eligible for induction in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.

News of Glavine’s interest in the Thrashers was first reported by WXIA-TV.

Ownership is seeking potential buyers or investors to help the financially struggling team. The Atlanta Spirit has stated publicly it would prefer to keep the Thrashers here and is first looking for a buyer who will stay. However, relocation is a possibility.

Gearon Jr. told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in February there is a “sense of urgency” to change the financial setup for a franchise that loses millions of dollars per year, suffers with low attendance and has made the playoffs once in its 11-year history.

There are talks ongoing with three groups interested in purchasing the Thrashers franchise and keeping it in Atlanta, Waddell has stated. The groups have shown interest in the purchase of the Thrashers — not in becoming investors in the Atlanta Spirit, which also owns the Hawks and Philips Arena.

Two other groups also have expressed interest in purchasing the Thrashers, Hawks and Philips Arena, as previously reported by the AJC. One party held meetings with officials from the NBA and NHL. However, Waddell said he has had no direct dealings with a group interested in purchasing all three properties.

At least five non-disclosure agreements, the first step in a purchase, have been procured by Raine Group, a New York-based firm hired by the Atlanta Spirit to seek a buyer or additional investors.

“To be perfectly honest, I don’t have the money to buy the team,” Glavine said. “I could be an investor. I could go down that road. I’m not saying I will or I will not.”