North Fulton County

‘It’s gonna thrive:’ Former NHL star hopes to bring hockey to Alpharetta

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Another group, led by former hockey star Anson Carter, is looking to lure a major league hockey team to Atlanta’s northern suburbs.

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Carter is eyeing Alpharetta’s North Point Mall, which has struggled in recent years as many stores have moved out. His organization, Alpharetta Sports and Entertainment Group is partnering with New York Life, the mall property owner, to attract a hockey arena to the site.

“We know it’s a tremendous opportunity there,” said Alpharetta Mayor Jim Gilvin.

For several years, the city has wanted to redevelop the 83-acre North Point property along Georgia 400. He said in the past year or so, Carter – who co-owns the minor league Atlanta Gladiators approached the city about bringing an NHL franchise here.

“We’ve had numerous conversations about if there’s a great location in metro Atlanta, where would you put it?” he said. “And it’s hard to find a spot that’s better set for that type of environment.”

The spot is about five miles south of another proposed development called The Gathering at South Forsyth. Local businessman Vernan Krause is working to lure an NHL team to a site that would include an 18,000-seat arena. The development would also feature homes, restaurants, retail and office space and cost about $2 billion.


Gilvin said Carter has the credentials, leadership and passion for hockey to bring a team to Alpharetta.

“The mall owners are really motivated to do something really special,” he said.

Carter did not respond to messages Monday seeking comment. His group has not said anything about how much the project would cost.

In a written statement released last week, Carter said, “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.”

Jack Wilson, a hockey fan who lives in Alpharetta, said the fan base is robust in the area.

“I think if you bring it up here where there’s space for them to grow, where there’s a community that wants to have a sport near them up here in north Atlanta – Alpharetta area – it’s gonna thrive,” he said.

Cynthia Lippert is a realtor in Alpharetta who remembers the days when metro Atlanta had an NHL team. The Thrashers left Atlanta in 2011 after 12 years.

“I think Atlanta deserves to be supported by every single sport that’s available,” Lippert said.

She said a hockey arena and mixed-use development would do wonders for the North Point Mall site.

“It’s going to bring so much life to a secondary portion of Alpharetta,” she said.

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Hockey fan Devan Hunter said he was “heartbroken” when the Thrashers left the region. He said whether a team comes to Forsyth County or Alpharetta, it would be viable.

“I know there’s a lot of people that watch it and it’s a hot market, and you know, all we need is the ownership that cares enough to invest in the team,” Hunter said.