sohiosportsfreak

Minor League Hockey Shake-up...coming

1,039 posts in this topic

Sorry if there is already a thread for this, I couldn't find it. Looks like for 2015-16 the minor league hockey system is going to go with a huge overhaul. Looks like the Western Conference teams are going to get Western teams, so here is what I have gathered so far...

1. Arizona Coyotes have bought the Arizona Sundogs (once of the CHL). They will be the new AHL team for Arizona.

2. Colorado Avalanche have purchased the Denver Cutthroats (once of the CHL). They will be the new AHL Colorado affiliate.

3. Los Angles Kings will be moving their AHL affiliate to Ontario, CA (they already own the Reign, ECHL,). Reign will be moved up.

4. Winnipeg Jets are moving their AHL team to Thunder Bay.

5. Ducks apparently are buying an AHL team and moving it to San Diego. Probably a return of the Gulls, I suspect.

6. Edmonton Oilers have purchased the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL). They will be the new AHL affiliate.

So what this leaves is San Jose, who are rumored to be moving Worcester to California. Only fitting they team up with the Stockton Thunder. Calgary and Vancouver are rumored (once deals are closed) will be moving their teams West. Since, the ECHL West will be dismantled, this looks like the Alaska Aces will be closing up shop after this season. Utah Grizzlies future is unknown. Probably will be ceasing operations as well.

Now, it makes perfect sense why the Midwest teams of the ECHL have been moved into the Western Conference. News is at the end of this season the CHL will be folding and of what little teams are left will be absorbed into the ECHL. Brampton will probably fold where they are struggling to stay afloat now.

So, another question is what happens to the AHL teams/cities that lose their team? Portland, ME (Pirates) have a strong history in the AHL. Do they get a second chance are they folding too? Worcester Sharks are looking to fold. The Oklahoma City Barons are up for sale by Edmonton. Perhaps St. Louis buys them and moves their AHL team there? Another question is the Lake Erie Monsters? With Colorado buying the Denver Cutthroats where does that leave them? They would fit in nicely with the ECHL (Walleye, Cyclones).

Anybody know of anymore "news"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope the Grizzlies don't cease to exist. I love going to their games.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any links to back up those rumors?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2014/08/24/report-ahl-migration-west-could-begin-in-2015-16/

Some here. Found some yesterday too. Googled it, can't remember where. Reason why Denver Cutthroats and Arizona Sundogs ceased operations, because they were bought out.

It's only fitting that these teams get "farm" teams closer to home. Just wonder what kind of future is in store for some of these teams with a long AHL history. I could even see the Blue Jackets buying Lake Erie (would make sense).

I hope that the Grizzlies and Aces stick around. But, I just don't see how it would make sense for anyone to affiliate with Alaska if they want to keep teams close. Abbotsford would be a good fit for the Canucks. As for Calgary, who knows. Maybe they will buy the Grizzlies?

Think we are going to see a lot of greed in the Minor Leagues. A lot of fans are going to lose their teams.

Maybe the ECHL will expand to the Northeast and absorb some of these AHL teams that are going to get left behind?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not "fitting" at all. The logistics for a smaller minor-league footprint make much more sense. Western teams mean more travel time, more travel expenses, and more difficult scouting. This is dumb and I hope it fails.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2014/08/24/report-ahl-migration-west-could-begin-in-2015-16/

Some here. Found some yesterday too. Googled it, can't remember where. Reason why Denver Cutthroats and Arizona Sundogs ceased operations, because they were bought out.

It's only fitting that these teams get "farm" teams closer to home. Just wonder what kind of future is in store for some of these teams with a long AHL history. I could even see the Blue Jackets buying Lake Erie (would make sense).

What the :censored: is a Howlings.net and who the :censored: is Dave Gerry Cantlon?

There hasn't been word one about the Avs or Coyotes buying AHL teams anywhere else. And Occam's razor indicates that the reason Arizona and Denver "suspended operations" was because the Central Hockey League is burning down at the moment and those teams were kind of sort of not making money. The Sundogs were hovering around 2500 and Denver had dropped down to 1787. Thats a 40% drop from year one, BTW, for a team THAT MADE THE :censored: ING LEAGUE FINALS LAST SEASON.

Related: Sticking AHL teams in those towns looks to be a bad idea even by the standards of the Coyotes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, as we all know nothing makes sense when it comes to hockey business.

As well as for what passes for sports journalism, critical thinking, and blogs. Random bloggers with anonymous "sources" get way too much credit nowadays.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There has been a void in the hockey minor league system ever since the IHL folded. Hated seeing the league go under. Was a really great league to watch. Miss the days of the Atlanta Knights, Las Vegas Thunder, Kansas City Blades, Detroit Vipers.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW the Jets aren't moving the farm to Thunder Bay until the red tape clears around that arena project. They have two more years on the rock, but after that, there's an excellent chance the Moose may return until something more permanent makes its presence known

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW the Jets aren't moving the farm to Thunder Bay until the red tape clears around that arena project. They have two more years on the rock, but after that, there's an excellent chance the Moose may return until something more permanent makes its presence known

That would be weird if they came back to Winnipeg. The Moose had strong support by AHL standards, but a lot of that was attributable to the fact that it was the top game in town at the time. The 6,500-ish crowds that they used to get would probably end up half as large, at best, if the Moose came back to Winnipeg. Obviously a strike/lockout situation would be totally different, but that isn't in the offing at all.

I guess it only makes sense in the context of Winnipeg being an interim parking lot for the team for one or two seasons tops while the new TB rink gets built.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With the Jets ticket waiting list and the staggering prices, is say the Moose would be in the 4000 range.

But I don't live there anymore so really, what do I know

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to bump this up with some new news.

I spoke today to the head coach/GM of an SPHL team, and he said that they are bracing for a merger between the Central League and the East Coast League. The new league, still known as the ECHL, will be comprised of 30 teams, and is supposed to begin play this season.

The hockey hierarchy would look like this:

NHL

AHL

ECHL

SPHL

FHL, LNAH

EDIT: And for the people wondering where the OP got his info/theories, look no further.

http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/2014/8/7/5976075/ahl-west-echl-chl-realignment-minor-league-hockey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to bump this up with some new news.

I spoke today to the head coach/GM of an SPHL team, and he said that they are bracing for a merger between the Central League and the East Coast League. The new league, still known as the ECHL, will be comprised of 30 teams, and is supposed to begin play this season.

The hockey hierarchy would look like this:

NHL

AHL

ECHL

SPHL

FHL, LNAH

EDIT: And for the people wondering where the OP got his info/theories, look no further.

http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/2014/8/7/5976075/ahl-west-echl-chl-realignment-minor-league-hockey

Wait, so if they're going to merge this year what does that mean for the team alignments for this season in ECHL?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One suggestion is to have the CHL be a division in the ECHL this year and realign geographically next year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reading that article, I do wonder why the Jets and/or Wild haven't pursued a AA relationship with Rapid City.

Unless RC prefers to be independent/poorly run. There has to be a reason they affiliated with Colorado for two seasons and now piggyback onto the Reign with Los Angeles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure ease of getting players to and from Rapid City is an issue, since it would be a mess of regional flights and airports before getting a Northwestern flight out of MSP to Winnipeg.

That's the tricky part for Canadian teams with farm teams in the US. Fargo might be close, but it would be easier and faster to rent him a car and let him drive rather than try to fly him from Hector Airport to MSP to ORD to YWG.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel that Rapid City would be best fit for juniors. They're kinda just a lame duck in the minors with no team really being a good fit for an affiliation, even for AA. Besides, they could make a decent in-state rivalry with Sioux Falls in the USHL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're two weeks away from seasons starting. A merger/CeHL absorption is logisitcally impossible for the 2014-15 season.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now