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Canucks chance to move AHL team to Abbotsford


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#1 jono2009

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:05 AM

Wolves could lose Canucks as affiliate
GM Young working to make sure Wolves won't get lost in shuffle
February 24, 2013|By Paul LaTour, Special to the Tribune


A report from the Utica (N.Y.) Observer-Dispatch may end up having a dramatic effect on the Wolves' immediate future. The newspaper reported Sunday that the Calgary Flames are moving their AHL affiliation from Abbotsford to Utica for the 2013-14 season.

That leaves Abbotsford in play as a possible location for the Canucks affiliation, which would leave the Wolves looking for a new parent organization for the second time in three years. The Wolves and Canucks signed a two-year agreement June 27, 2011.

Because the word is out there, I have had other NHL teams calling me to inquire," Wolves general manager Wendell Young said Sunday between periods of the Wolves' 2-1 loss to Rockford. "I'm holding off because I really don't know what is going on. Until Vancouver tells me they don't want to renew, I still stay interested because I have to have something."

Young said he doesn't want to end up in the same situation as Norfolk, which won the Calder Cup last season while affiliated with Tampa Bay. Soon after the title, the Lightning moved their affiliation to Syracuse.

Ideally, the Wolves would have the opportunity to shop around for the right fit to be their third NHL affiliate since the team joined the AHL in 2001-02.

"I don't want to sit in June or July and (not) have a selection (of parent teams), and I got to take what's left," Young said. "It's getting to be crunch time pretty soon. I don't know what's going and it's frustrating."

Meanwhile, the Wolves' streak of five consecutive games with at least one point was snapped in the loss to the IceHogs. After falling behind 2-0 in the first period, the Wolves failed to get one past Henrik Karlsson until Darren Haydar scored with 28 seconds remaining.

http://articles.chic...r-wendell-young
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#2 Xbox

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:09 AM

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TBH, Chicago is probably the worst place for our AHL affiliate. Biggest Rival and not even close to Vancouver.

It would be stupid to NOT move the team to Abby
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#3 Dogbyte

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:18 AM

They should move that team in a heartbeat.

I've always wondered how that makes any sense to have a Vancover franchise in Chicago when we're bitter rivals. I mean, I wouldn't pony up cash to go watch Chicago's farm team play.

Edited by Dogbyte, 25 February 2013 - 10:19 AM.

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#4 J.R.

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:20 AM

And this isn't done already....why...?
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#5 goalie13

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:20 AM

The Canucks organization doesn't own an AHL team to move to Abby. They just have an affiliation with the Wolves. They would either have to get an expansion franchise or buy another franchise that's already established or establish a new affiliation and convince them to move.
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#6 D-Money

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:27 AM

Talk about instant financial success for the Heat.

Would be nice to get call-ups quickly. Also, bubble guys could settle in, find a more permanent home, knowing that no matter where they play they'll be within driving distance.
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#7 jono2009

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:29 AM

Ideally couldn't they buy the heat and move Calgary's team out of town?

If they do this, I hope they change the Heat name, logo, etc.

It needs a fresh start!!!
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#8 Derp...

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:39 AM

hope they can get it done!
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#9 Noheart

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:41 AM

The wolves and nucks are not a good match plain and simple.

What I don't understand is why in the hell would Calgary go from Abby to Utica? You are in the west and happen to be lucky enough to have a farm team in the west. I bet Abby didn't want to renew to have a shot at the Canucks.

Edited by Noheart, 25 February 2013 - 10:45 AM.

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#10 Noheart

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:42 AM

Don't you hate when you hit quote instead of edit

Edited by Noheart, 25 February 2013 - 10:44 AM.

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#11 CanuckRow

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:43 AM

Apparently it's not happening...


http://www.news1130...._medium=twitter


BBOTSFORD (NEWS1130) – One media outlet in Utica reported it as iron-clad fact: the Abbotsford Heat would be pulling up stakes for New York State next hockey season.

But the trouble with facts is that sometimes, they’re just not that factual.

The rumour started over the weekend in blog posted on the Utica Observer-Dispatch’s website, which stated the Flames had signed a 10-year deal to bring their AHL affiliate team to the local arena.

It seems plausible; the Abbotsford Heat has had chronically low attendance, among the worst in the league, and the city has been on the hook in a deal that makes taxpayers responsible for any shortfall in profits.

Late last summer, there were also rumours the Vancouver Canucks were interested in snapping up the AHL team.

The first cold water dumped on the current chatter was from Abbotsford Heat president Ryan Walter, who told The Province that nobody from the Flames had spoken with him about relocating the farm team.

The Flames organization then issued a statement denying the rumour and saying how great their current relationship is with the Abbotsford Heat.

Then came the final body check: One of the members of the board that oversees the arena in Utica told the media the story is false — they have approached a number of teams about bringing the AHL back to the city and whole thing was taken out of context.

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#12 jono2009

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:46 AM

stay tuned, i don't think this is the last we have heard of this story.

attendence is horrible in abbotsford. sure you have the few die hard heat fans. but at the end of the day, fans come to see canucks prospects......not cheer for the flames farm team.
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#13 cammy

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:50 AM

You don't want your farm team in your own back yard.

Having a team in Chicago actually makes good sense as it means if we have to call up any of our contracted players its not the case that they are flying the whole way across the continent and means no matter where the canucks are they can get hold of their players.

hypothetical example - AHL team was in Abbotsford - canucks were on the road in the south east - could we get a player there in time on short notice. However with a fairly centrally located team this doesnt become an issue.
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#14 jono2009

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:56 AM

it definitley has its pros and cons......if it doesn't happen, the heat will continue to flush down the toilet
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#15 Realtor Rod

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:59 AM

A few things are holding a deal up. The owner of the building in Abbotsford has a sweet heart deal, as does the team. If the team is in Abbotsford, they break even or the tax payers pay the losses. The owner of the building would have to be offered something substantial to sell the building (to Aquilini).

Also, the Flames are tied into a 10 year contract with the Abbotsford ownership group. 7 years left of financial stability is a difficult think to walk away from.

It can happen, but there is lots of red tape, hoops to jump through and all other business cliches.

On a side note, Aquilinis continue to purchase cattle head and look for other quota in the Abbotsford/Chilliwack area. The most millionaires per capita in Canada. Not a bad place to do business, especially when you have a lions share of the market related to hockey if you could get your farm team there.
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#16 Realtor Rod

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:00 AM

You don't want your farm team in your own back yard.

Having a team in Chicago actually makes good sense as it means if we have to call up any of our contracted players its not the case that they are flying the whole way across the continent and means no matter where the canucks are they can get hold of their players.

hypothetical example - AHL team was in Abbotsford - canucks were on the road in the south east - could we get a player there in time on short notice. However with a fairly centrally located team this doesnt become an issue.


Half the games are played at home and even more in the local time zones. I think that makes more sense.
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#17 freebass

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:02 AM

You don't want your farm team in your own back yard.

Having a team in Chicago actually makes good sense as it means if we have to call up any of our contracted players its not the case that they are flying the whole way across the continent and means no matter where the canucks are they can get hold of their players.

hypothetical example - AHL team was in Abbotsford - canucks were on the road in the south east - could we get a player there in time on short notice. However with a fairly centrally located team this doesnt become an issue.


to start you have a 50-50 chance that you will need a call up at home and about a 75% chance somewhere in western NA. So for logistic purposes it makes perfect sense. the odds of being in florida and needing a call up are pretty slim.
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#18 jono2009

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:04 AM

I am from Langley, would gladly drive to Abby or Chilliwack for seasons tix for our farm team if it ended up there.

The Heat are losing so much money. 2 years ago when I went to the Heat/Moose game, I spoke with my mom's friend who was/is a city councillor for Abbotsford. He told me that for the Heat just to break even would be 4600 tix/game. At that time they were averaging 1800, and I have heard it was even less this year( with exceptions to Wolves/Barons/Marlies)
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#19 avelanch

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:10 AM

if the canucks DO get an AHL expansion team in Abby (which would be amazing for the canucks and abby for so many reasons, and it might even push transit to stretch the skytrain out to abby from the major increase in traffic) then it could be a sign of NHL expansion. It's well known the wolves owner wants a NHL team in seattle, so the wolves would automatically have a NHL affiliate in that case.

Edited by avelanch, 25 February 2013 - 11:11 AM.

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#20 Canucks1527

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:10 AM

Heat president Ryan Walters stated he has new been approached about moving the heat, as well as flames management has shot down the rumoured move to Utica. Would love to see canucks farm team closer, but it would kill local junior hockey.
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#21 elvis15

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:34 AM

The Canucks organization doesn't own an AHL team to move to Abby. They just have an affiliation with the Wolves. They would either have to get an expansion franchise or buy another franchise that's already established or establish a new affiliation and convince them to move.

The rumour is (or rather was since it's been debunked now) that the Heat would stay where they are but Calgary would move their affiliation to the proposed team in Utica. It's not that the whole team would move to Utica, as the Heat are bound by a 10 year deal with the city of Abbotsford.

It would certainly make sense for the Heat and the Canucks to have them affiliated, although it wouldn't really make sense for the Flames to move their prospects to the other side of the continent. We could reach an agreement to swap affiliates and have it be not so bad: their prospects get improved travel, ours are much close to the parent club, and the Heat and the city of Abbotsford both benefit from increased attendance.
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#22 disisdayear

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:42 AM

They should move that team in a heartbeat.

I've always wondered how that makes any sense to have a Vancover franchise in Chicago when we're bitter rivals. I mean, I wouldn't pony up cash to go watch Chicago's farm team play.


Ahhh, sort of like having the Flames farm team in Abbottsford?
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#23 Just Jimmy

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:47 AM

Well I think I'm in the small majority that would love the Wolves to remain the Canucks AHL affiliate as i live 20 minutes from the Allstate arena.

I pray this doesn't happen as I just got a really nifty Wolves zip up hoodie that i dont want to have to just give away.
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#24 jono2009

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:59 AM

Well I think I'm in the small majority that would love the Wolves to remain the Canucks AHL affiliate as i live 20 minutes from the Allstate arena.  

I pray this doesn't happen as I just got a really nifty Wolves zip up hoodie that i dont want to have to just give away.


well jimmy, you can still wear it if the move.....however i dont think the canucks wolves will remain there.....enjoy the hoodie tho
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#25 avelanch

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:06 PM

Well I think I'm in the small majority that would love the Wolves to remain the Canucks AHL affiliate as i live 20 minutes from the Allstate arena.

I pray this doesn't happen as I just got a really nifty Wolves zip up hoodie that i dont want to have to just give away.

you could still support Seattle's farm team just fine :P
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#26 goalie13

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:08 PM

The rumour is (or rather was since it's been debunked now) that the Heat would stay where they are but Calgary would move their affiliation to the proposed team in Utica. It's not that the whole team would move to Utica, as the Heat are bound by a 10 year deal with the city of Abbotsford.


Except... I thought the Flames actually owned the Heat. Unlike the Canucks that just have an affiliation with the Wolves. Am I wrong there?

Since the Flames own the team, they would have moved the whole team to Utica. That's what the Utica folks were allegedly after. They don't have a team there right now to move an affiliation to. But like you say, the Heat do have a contract with the City of Abby to stay where they are for a few more years.

In order for this deal to work I would think that Aquilini would need to buy the Heat from the Flames and then shift the affiliation there. The Flames could then shift their affiliation to Chicago, or some other team as affiliations seem to change frequently.
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#27 theo5789

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:19 PM

I think the main question is whether the fans would show up to the games if the Canucks were to move their affiliate to Abbotsford. Yes there were good crowds when the Wolves came, but that's just the occasional game and people made the extra effort to go because there were only a few chances to see them. Would that excitement be there for a full season? An average/losing season?

I have no doubt the crowd will be better than it is now, but it's whether or not if it'll be enough considering that it's in our backyard, therefore they have to compete with the Canucks themselves. The difference in Chicago is that they still support the team even though they're affiliated with a rival. Their attendance numbers are going up since it became our farm team. If we have such a strong hockey market here, then where is it? Because we are so passionate that we can't bear to watch an opposing farm team? I don't really buy it when Chicago can do it. Population is another reason why the Wolves likely have a better attendance, but it's also another reason why having a team in Abbotsford is not a good idea.

Personally I think a team being in Abbotsford is just too far away for many casual fans to attend. So even with a boost in attendance, I don't think we'll have the 6-7 thousand increase just to match what we are getting in Chicago simply because of where it's located. I would rather have our farm team in Seattle, where there is a market to try and get an NHL franchise. It's further for our local fans, but I'm sure people would rather go to Seattle than Abbotsford as well.
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#28 canidiot

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:24 PM

there must be some logic to having a team in chicago. i just dont see it myself.
a farm team in close proximity would be better for all involved.
the fans would connect with prospects.
prospects would be able to attend some practice with the big club before being called up.
gm's and coaches would have easy access to first hand assess progress.
i do understand that both teams scheduals would have them traveling but there would be times they are both in van.
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#29 jono2009

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:27 PM

i think it would certainly do well enough to break even if not better.
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#30 goalie13

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:33 PM

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there must be some logic to having a team in chicago. i just dont see it myself.
a farm team in close proximity would be better for all involved.
the fans would connect with prospects.
prospects would be able to attend some practice with the big club before being called up.
gm's and coaches would have easy access to first hand assess progress.
i do understand that both teams scheduals would have them traveling but there would be times they are both in van.


The basic logic is that Chicago is far closer to all of the teams in the AHL than Abbotsford is.

Here is a map of where all the AHL franchises are:

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