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Minor League Hockey Shake-up...coming


JackieMoon
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Another one bites the dust. While 13 teams have already started the ECHL season, Fort Wayne and Toledo were given extra time. The time is up for Toledo as they have now gone on voluntary suspension for the season. Fort Wayne is still planning on starting in February.

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For reference, the WHL has not started yet. The planned start date was pushed back until Jan. 8th and then was delayed on Dec. 15th, with no new start date. "[F]ollowing further consultation with regional health authorities, the Board of Governors will meet in January to consider potential start dates".

 

The OHL has also not started and delayed its Feb. 4th start date on Dec. 23rd, also with no new start date.

 

The QMJHL started its season, paused it and now the Quebec-based teams will be starting a series of mini bubbles on Jan. 22. I don't know if they have decided what the Atlantic-based teams will be doing.

 

It's been discussed a couple times on here, by @the admiral mostly I think, about how much of a developmental league the AHL really is nowadays, and this news got some internet “analysts” (read: Redditors) discussing the NHL-CHL agreement again and which is more beneficial for development.

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What a cluster. At this point in time, why even bother? It's not even competition anymore. Mismatched schedules, alignments, and rosters. 

 

Resembles the WHA, USFL, WFL, and ABA; and we know what happened to all of them.

 

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Since I moved away from Pensacola, I haven't been paying as close attention to the SPHL. A friend of mine had to tell me this:

 

Tonight's Huntsville at Pensacola game will be played 4-on-4 as part of the league's return to play protocols since Huntsville had to sit out some games. Knoxville had players suspended for breaking league protocols. Macon postponed their games this weekend. 

 

The SPHL is such a :censored:show right now

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  • 2 weeks later...

The AHL Stockton Heat (Calgary Flames) have received permission to provisionally play their season in Calgary at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flames say its due to cross border restrictions. Stockton will join the Canadian division with Manitoba (Winnipeg), Toronto (Toronto), Laval (Montreal) and Belleville (Ottawa).

 

So this leaves the two remaining Canadian NHL clubs with their affiliates still in the US, Bakersfield (Edmonton) and Utica (Vancouver). Now if the reasoning behind the provisional move is true I would think Bakersfield and Utica wouldnt be far behind. However something seems fishy to me.

 

The Heats lease with the City of Stockton and the Stockton Arena ran out at the end of the 2019-20 season. In February 2020, a one year extension was signed through the 2020-21 season to give the two more time to negotiate a new contract. The original lease was 5 years with an team option for an additional 5. The Flames and Heat declined the option. With parent owned AHL clubs wanting to be located closer to the parent teams in recent years, I think the Heat provisional move may be more permanent.

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34 minutes ago, Dilbert said:

 

 

So this leaves the two remaining Canadian NHL clubs with their affiliates still in the US, Bakersfield (Edmonton) and Utica (Vancouver). Now if the reasoning behind the provisional move is true I would think Bakersfield and Utica wouldnt be far behind. However something seems fishy to me.

 

 

Something I think would be an awesome idea but will never come to fruition.  The Canucks need to move their farm team back to Vancouver.  Have them play at Pacific Coliseum.  Have the farm team wear black, yellow, and salmon red like the Canucks used to before they left the Coliseum.

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2 hours ago, Dilbert said:

The AHL Stockton Heat (Calgary Flames) have received permission to provisionally play their season in Calgary at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flames say its due to cross border restrictions. Stockton will join the Canadian division with Manitoba (Winnipeg), Toronto (Toronto), Laval (Montreal) and Belleville (Ottawa).

 

So this leaves the two remaining Canadian NHL clubs with their affiliates still in the US, Bakersfield (Edmonton) and Utica (Vancouver). Now if the reasoning behind the provisional move is true I would think Bakersfield and Utica wouldnt be far behind. However something seems fishy to me.

 

The Heats lease with the City of Stockton and the Stockton Arena ran out at the end of the 2019-20 season. In February 2020, a one year extension was signed through the 2020-21 season to give the two more time to negotiate a new contract. The original lease was 5 years with an team option for an additional 5. The Flames and Heat declined the option. With parent owned AHL clubs wanting to be located closer to the parent teams in recent years, I think the Heat provisional move may be more permanent.

 

Also, Calgary torches every market they play in in 5 years or less.  It's a cardinal rule.

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15 hours ago, Dilbert said:

The AHL Stockton Heat (Calgary Flames) have received permission to provisionally play their season in Calgary at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flames say its due to cross border restrictions. Stockton will join the Canadian division with Manitoba (Winnipeg), Toronto (Toronto), Laval (Montreal) and Belleville (Ottawa).

 

So this leaves the two remaining Canadian NHL clubs with their affiliates still in the US, Bakersfield (Edmonton) and Utica (Vancouver). Now if the reasoning behind the provisional move is true I would think Bakersfield and Utica wouldnt be far behind. However something seems fishy to me.

 

The Heats lease with the City of Stockton and the Stockton Arena ran out at the end of the 2019-20 season. In February 2020, a one year extension was signed through the 2020-21 season to give the two more time to negotiate a new contract. The original lease was 5 years with an team option for an additional 5. The Flames and Heat declined the option. With parent owned AHL clubs wanting to be located closer to the parent teams in recent years, I think the Heat provisional move may be more permanent.

 

13 hours ago, rams80 said:

 

Also, Calgary torches every market they play in in 5 years or less.  It's a cardinal rule.

 

1 hour ago, the admiral said:

NHL, AHL, and WHL in the same city is bad for Winnipeg and it's bad for Calgary. Find someplace other than California's Rockford to put them. Nudge Boise or Salt Lake City up to AHL, I don't know.

 

If I had to say right now, I really can't see that happening in Calgary. At least in Winnipeg's case, the WHL's Ice are separately owned and play in a different arena, there's no direct connection there. Plus, the Moose were the only hockey team in Winnipeg for years and were there before both the new-Jets and the Ice.

 

Firstly with the NLL's Roughnecks, that would make four teams in one arena all owned by CSEC with the Hitmen, the Roughnecks and the AHL team all needing the same arena dates.

 

Secondly, I don't know how much of a market would be for an AHL team in Calgary (especially with the current economy). One because it would be a new minor league team in a "professional" sports city and not that I'm an expert on sports teams finances, but I would think CSEC would be cannibalizing their own market because the Hitmen and the AHL would fill the same "secondary to the Flames" hockey position for fans and advertisers.

 

If the Hitmen didn't exist or weren't owned by the Flames or weren't an established hockey team in Calgary in their own right over the past 26 years, then it could be a possibility, but I personally don't think it's a permanent move.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Brampton had attendance issues prior to Covid and Im surprised they lasted as long as they did. The Golden Horseshoe market is overly saturated with hockey from the Leafs and Marlies at the pro level to the jr level teams in nearby Oshawa, Mississauga, Guelph, Kitchener and Hamilton. The fact the Beast lasted as long as they did baffles me but the pandemic doesnt help and has made it a better excuse for the team to fold.

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On 2/18/2021 at 2:58 PM, monkeypower said:

I guess Brampton's not a hockey market?

 

The Battalion moved because of low attendance and then now the Beast are gone too, though the Beast aren't folding under normal circumstances.

 

On 2/18/2021 at 8:24 PM, Dilbert said:

Brampton had attendance issues prior to Covid and Im surprised they lasted as long as they did. The Golden Horseshoe market is overly saturated with hockey from the Leafs and Marlies at the pro level to the jr level teams in nearby Oshawa, Mississauga, Guelph, Kitchener and Hamilton. The fact the Beast lasted as long as they did baffles me but the pandemic doesnt help and has made it a better excuse for the team to fold.

 

The Beast only lasted as long as they did because the city gave them money to keep them from folding and they still sold 20% ownership (two 10% stakes at 1 million each) and it wasn't enough. As much as majority owner, Carey Kaplin, has said it wasn't because of money, I have to believe that is not 100% true. 

I lived in Brampton most of my life until moving about 4 years ago. I visit frequently as I play softball and curl there (you know, when you could do those things) and have many friends there. 

I went to many Battalion games over the years and went to maybe 6 Beast games over the years (including their first home game). The Battalion games, while usually half empty, always had more people than the Beast games. 

 

To @Dilbert's point there's just too many teams in the area. Hell, the Mississauga Steelheads arena is 10 mins up the road. 

The arena is out of the way as well. It's a cool sports park with a rugby field, a cricket field and, baseball diamonds in addition to the arena (which has 3 community rinks) but it's on a plot of land surrounded by 2 highways with no exits to/from them and there is 1 road in and out which caused big traffic issues when the arena was half full. When it was full, it was a nightmare to get out of there. It was a 5 minute drive from my house but if it was a busy game, it took 45 mins to get home. 

 

Add to that information that Brampton is a city with many immigrant people who come from countries where hockey isn't the most popular of sports (that isn't to say they can't or won't become hockey fans); I feel like Brampton just isn't a place where hockey will work. 

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