The Atlanta Knights were the first pro hockey action in the ATL since the Flames departed for Calgary in 1980. The Knights were immediately successful both on and off the ice, attracting about 8,000 fans per game and winning 52 of 82 games in their first IHL season, 1992-93. The team wasn't only notable for their play either. Through their affiliation with Tampa, they had Manon Rheaume the first female NHL player, and famous brother Brent Gretzky. They also had Jock Callander, the IHL's all time leading scorer. In their first season, they would lose in the second round of the playoffs against eventual champions, Fort Wayne. In their second year, the Knights would bounce back and go all the way to the finals, defeating Fort Wayne in the rematch in six games.
Following the title win, the team wasn't as successful on the ice but continued to be a draw at the box office. So much so that the NHL came calling and awarded Atlanta a franchise in June 1997. As a minor league team in a newly minted major league city, the Knights saw the writing on the wall and packed up and moved north to Quebec after the 1995-96 season. The team was renamed the Rafales and only lasted two seasons in Canada.