The Atlanta Thrashers are just the second team in NHL history to have five black players on the roster. "We do joke around with it a little bit," says Dustin Byfuglien. But, the front office sees opportunity.
It's no laughing matter to the attendance-challenged Thrashers, who are trying to seize on the possible benefits. ...
The team has beefed up its advertising on urban radio stations and black-oriented publications, focusing heavily on the team's most prominent players of color, Byfuglien and 19-year-old star-in-the-making Evander Kane (a Canadian who was named after one of Atlanta's most favorite sons, former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield).
"I don't have any hard figures to tell you, yeah, we've seen more African-Americans coming to games. But I can tell you anecdotally, yeah, we've seen more African-Americans coming to games. You can just eyeball it and see," said Tracy White, the team's senior vice president of sales and marketing.
(Edit: The five players aren't African-American as initially stated. Just the fans the Thrashers are seeking.)