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Anson Carter leading group to bring NHL expansion team to the Atlanta area

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Former NHL forward Anson Carter is leading the charge to bring an NHL expansion team to Atlanta. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Carter is leading the Alpharetta Sports & Entertainment Group that is attempting to bring an NHL expansion franchise to the city.

“I’ve lived in Atlanta since 2009, and I have no doubt that the best league in the world will thrive in its return to Metro Atlanta,” Carter said in a statement. “I have been in dialogue with Commissioner Bettman since 2019 about an expansion team returning to the Fulton County Metro Atlanta market, knowing that the NHL franchise decisions are exclusively decided by the NHL Board of Governors.”

The group’s announcement also stated that the ASE Group is partnering with New York Life to work on putting an arena in Alpharetta, which is just north of downtown Atlanta.

The announcement also called Alpharetta “the largest hockey-playing community in Metro Atlanta” and the arena would be part of a “visionary development at the North Point Mall site” that would also feature an outdoor stadium for soccer or lacrosse.

The NHL currently is comprised of 32 teams with eight teams being in each of the four divisions. The two most recent NHL expansion franchises were the Seattle Kraken (2021-22) and the Vegas Golden Knights (2017-18). 

Of course, Atlanta has had NHL teams in the past. 

The Calgary Flames were originally the Atlanta Flames from 1972 until 1980 when the franchise moved to Calgary. The Winnipeg Jets were previously known as the Atlanta Thrashers from 1999 until 2011 before the team relocated.

Carter played 10 NHL seasons from 1996-2007 for the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes. The veteran forward spent four of those campaigns with the Bruins, and racked up 202 goals and 219 assists in 674 career games.

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