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canucklax

(Rumor) Major AHL Realignment planned for 2015

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After seeing Calgary move their farm team from Abbotsford to Glen Falls, NY I was checking what other realignment was going on for the league. Philly moved their farm team from glen falls to a pennsylvania city, but more intriguingly, it seems that a Pacific division is being planned to start in 2015. 2 separate sources I've found so far that relate to it.

http://mayorsmanor.com/2014/04/major-news-kings-preparing-to-move-top-prospects-to-socal/

This article speaks from a Kings point of view, but says that there were up to 8 western NHL teams interested in farm teams closer to home. It also says a "western canadian" team lost interest, and speculated it was the Canucks, but I believe with the Heat move to the east coast that it was actually the Flames.

http://msn.foxsports.com/arizona/story/arizona-could-be-home-to-coyotes-ahl-affiliate-041014

This article comes from a coyotes source who says they would like their farm team in Arizona. Not getting into the crap-show that is hockey in arizona, but it is more evidence of the potential move. It also mentions Salt Lake city as a possible home to a team

So it seems to me, this is pushing towards the Comets moving to Abbotsford after this upcoming season. The Heat are gone, and the building needs a major tenant, as well as the easy sell of tickets to canucks fans trying to see the prospects.

If I were to make a hypothetical Pacific Division, this would be my guess:

Safe bets:

Abbotsford-Canucks, obvious connection

Ontario (California)-Kings, ECHL team is there currently

Arizona-Coyotes, Yotes try to spread hockey and their brand

Oklahoma City-Oilers, Already in place, would decrease divisional travel

Colorado, San Jose, and Anaheim are harder to figure out, Dallas's farm may be included too.

Guesses for other cities:

Boise, ID-SJ or Anaheim

Salt Lake City, UT-SJ or Anaheim

Colorado is contracted to Lake Erie till 2017, but could join the club

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I read 3 words and immediately thought Calgary was being moved to the AHL.

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I read 3 words and immediately thought Calgary was being moved to the AHL.

haha a relegation system would be interesting

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Makes sense moving the farm teams as close as possible to the big league team. Liking this.

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I wanted to bring this up because if the AHL doesn't figure out a way to get teams in the west, it might trigger teams in the West starting a separate Minor Pro league of say 8 teams so that they have their prospects closer.

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Would Oakland or SF make sense for San Jose or more likely Portland?

Portland imo is perfect for the WHL, but I don't think thye could support an AHL team. Not due to any lack of fans, as the winterhawks are a top team in the WHL in attendance, but because it would join a crowded market in a city that is dominated by the NBA team. It would be hard to market by saying the talent difference being so much greater than the WHL team, while also being second rate to a big 4 league in the NBA.

The owner of the Rose Garden also just brought in an AFL team, which is largely unknown to most people here. The owner is using it to fill dates, but I think it shows that the middle ground of a 2nd tier pro team isn't going to do well in Portland.

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haha a relegation system would be interesting

Even more interesting would be the fight for the 1st overall. Wouldn't need a lottery then, the teams below would still be fighting to stay in the NHL rather than tanking.

But on topic, I don't see it being that feasible without a number of teams joining in a reasonably similar area all at the same time. The AHL won't soon expand back to the West and both us and Calgary have recently committed to Eastern cities so would be unlikely to move next year as well. Maybe as a plan for several years down the road, but not in the near future.

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Those articles were written at the same time the organization made this statement regarding moving:

“We are committed to our AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets and enjoy a strong relationship with our partner club,” they said. “A strong base of Utica fans have shown tremendous support throughout the season and the Canucks intend to honour our long-term partnership agreement with the Comets.”

bottom paragraph, http://vansunsportsblogs.com/2014/04/17/if-flames-cant-stand-the-heat-canucks-should-stay-out-of-abbotsford/

I don't think they'll move.

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Those articles were written at the same time the organization made this statement regarding moving:

bottom paragraph, http://vansunsportsblogs.com/2014/04/17/if-flames-cant-stand-the-heat-canucks-should-stay-out-of-abbotsford/

I don't think they'll move.

One would expect a statement like that no matter what is discussed behind closed doors.

When Calgary pulled out of Abbie I was against Van taking their place. Having one team out west makes absolutely no sense. Establish a whole new division and you are talking a different situation. Then Abby makes sense although still iffy with air travel a must. Could be still to expensive. Get another team

in Spokane (an old Pacific Coast location) and it looks much better. I would even drive to Spokane to

watch the young Canuck games. Spokane seats 5000. PHX, LA, ANA, SJ, VAN, CAL, EDM = 7 teams. Getting all on board might be a stretch considering some of the existing relationships are long term and profitable.

AHL has 30 teams. Creating or moving 7 teams out west would leave a lot of upset hockey

markets back east. It would also kick the crap out of the ECHL which will be in many of

the towns the AHL would move to.

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