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Minor League Hockey Shake-up...coming


JackieMoon
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6 minutes ago, RyanMcD29 said:

Makes sense for the Canucks if this COVID year taught us anything about having an affiliate so far away

 

As for the Devils, well, hot potatoing their way through the 88/81/Thruway triangle back towards Albany again via Utica, I guess. Give it 2 or 3 years

Hell, the Devils' affiliate started in Utica; so really, if I may make a Maxine Nightingale reference, they've gone right back where they started from. 😜

 

  

18 minutes ago, monkeypower said:

To play connect the dots a bit, with that Utica trademark filing, could the Canucks be thinking about giving Abbotsford a second chance at the AHL?

I could see that. One of Langley, Victoria or Abbotsford would make way more sense for the Canucks in terms of locale than Utica, and I think this recent outbreak showed them why having their affiliate so far away and in another country was problematic.

 

Sucks that it's another lost AHL team for Binghamton, though; first the Dusters/Whalers/Rangers franchise, then the B-Sens, then the B-Devils.

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1 hour ago, Ridleylash said:

I could see that. One of Langley, Victoria or Abbotsford would make way more sense for the Canucks in terms of locale than Utica, and I think this recent outbreak showed them why having their affiliate so far away and in another country was problematic.

 

Both Langley and Victoria already have both a WHL team and a Jr. A (for the time being) BCHL team. Abbotsford has no hockey team besides a Jr. B team, but that doesn't matter.

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43 minutes ago, monkeypower said:

a Jr. A (for the time being) BCHL team

 

On April 9th, the CJHL, the Canadian Jr. A umbrella league (like the CHL but for Jr. A), announced that the BCHL submitted notice to withdraw their membership from the league effective March 24th. The BCHL is widely considered the best junior A league in Canada and has been in some minor spats with the CJHL over it.

 

The BCHL said in their announcement they aren't withdrawing from Hockey Canada nor the BC Hockey association, so they aren't appearing to go full outlaw league at this point, but there haven't been any official explanations as to why the BCHL withdrew nor what their future plans are nor how Hockey Canada will respond.

 

The leading theory (some facts, some conjecture based on those facts) is that the BCHL doesn't want to have to deal with player cards anymore, which are basically player rights/roster spots for teams. A player is "carded" when they sign a letter of intent with a Jr. A team and each team can only have 25 "cards" at one time and can only use 45 "cards" over the course of one season. To get a carded player from the team they signed with, the other team either has to make a player trade or a what's essentially a cash considerations trade. The BCHL also wants to be able to recruit out of province U18 and U16 players, which isn't allowed under CJHL rules. There have also been recent-ish changes to the Import Player rules, which has led to BCHL teams losing more American players to the USHL and NAHL. Those roster/recruiting rules, and how BCHL teams often make roster moves that are "technically legal", have led to the previous minor spats with the CJHL.

 

The theory continues that the BCHL feels they are the best Jr. A league in Canada (like I said above, pretty widely accepted) and better than the USHL and NAHL at developing NCAA players (BCHL is a declining third behind both of those leagues in NCAA commitments). However NCAA commitments from BCHL (and other CJHL league) teams are down as the American leagues have improved and the BCHL's ego is trying to essentially create a Major Junior NCAA-eligible league to keep pace with the American leagues.

 

TL;DR: The BCHL has withdrawn from the CJHL, with the leading theory being the BCHL doesn't want to play by the CJHL's roster and recruitment rules anymore so that the BCHL can restore their declining standing with the NCAA by trying to create a NCAA-eligible super league.

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At this point the best bet for Binghamton is to drop to the ECHL. Its becoming harder and harder to get a team in the AHL with many of them now owned by the NHL clubs. I think Binghamton would work well in the E with Adirondack, Worcester and Reading as nearby opponents. As for the Canucks, I can see them in Abbotsford, Victoria or even Vancouver at the Pacific Coliseum. Winnipeg currently has the NHL, AHL and WHL so it could happen or possibly work in Vancouver. If the Canucks go to Victoria, Id try to work a deal to move the WHL club to Abbotsford.

 

As for the ECHL Im starting to hear some expansion rumors. The new commissioner of the league is wanting to expand to get the league with the same number as NHL and AHL clubs. Next season they welcome Iowa and Trois Rivieres and Savannah comes in 2022. Supposedly the ECHL is interested in Amarillo. The NAHL Bulls are leaving for North Iowa after the season and the Civic Center has a renovation proposal possibly involving the Elmore Sports group, who own the local Amarillo Sod Poodles baseball team as well as the ECHL Utah Grizzlies. This could involve a Grizzlies relocation or an expansion team as the ECHL does allow ownership with multiple teams. Im also hearing a rumored return for Manchester, possibly with the Bruins.

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3 hours ago, Dilbert said:

At this point the best bet for Binghamton is to drop to the ECHL. Its becoming harder and harder to get a team in the AHL with many of them now owned by the NHL clubs. I think Binghamton would work well in the E with Adirondack, Worcester and Reading as nearby opponents. As for the Canucks, I can see them in Abbotsford, Victoria or even Vancouver at the Pacific Coliseum. Winnipeg currently has the NHL, AHL and WHL so it could happen or possibly work in Vancouver. If the Canucks go to Victoria, Id try to work a deal to move the WHL club to Abbotsford.

 

As for the ECHL Im starting to hear some expansion rumors. The new commissioner of the league is wanting to expand to get the league with the same number as NHL and AHL clubs. Next season they welcome Iowa and Trois Rivieres and Savannah comes in 2022. Supposedly the ECHL is interested in Amarillo. The NAHL Bulls are leaving for North Iowa after the season and the Civic Center has a renovation proposal possibly involving the Elmore Sports group, who own the local Amarillo Sod Poodles baseball team as well as the ECHL Utah Grizzlies. This could involve a Grizzlies relocation or an expansion team as the ECHL does allow ownership with multiple teams. Im also hearing a rumored return for Manchester, possibly with the Bruins.


I really hope not, because if any of these reports about the Canucks moving their team to Abbotsford/thereabouts/Boise, Salt Lake would likely be SOL for an ECHL/AHL team for the foreseeable future.

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3 hours ago, DustDevil61 said:


I really hope not, because if any of these reports about the Canucks moving their team to Abbotsford/thereabouts/Boise, Salt Lake would likely be SOL for an ECHL/AHL team for the foreseeable future.

I doubt Utah would be back in the AHL. Boise could be an option for the Canucks in the AHL but I dont see that happening as I think the Canucks will place their team in Canada. I can see Calgary moving Stockton Heat north as well if the Canucks move west. They are temporarily playing in Calgary already this season. Billings or Boise could be spot for the Flames. if Boise does move up it could be trouble for Utah and Rapid City being left on an island in the ECHL. Utah has drawn decently in the ECHL (prior to the pandemic anyway) the only reason they are linked with a possible move is due to the same ownership group potentially being involved with Amarillo.

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With the CHL Memorial Cup cancelled again, and COVID orders changing in Ontario again, the OHL season has officially been cancelled. The WHL:announced they will not have any playoffs and the season will end upon the conclusion of the regular season. The QMJHL will continue with hosting its playoffs.

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Victoria won't get a minor pro team again. RG Properties' main goal when they built the Save-On-Food Memorial Centre was to get a WHL team. When the league said they wouldn't expand and no franchises were available to relocate, RG Properties purchased the Baton Rouge Kingfish of the ECHL and had them play there until a WHL team became available... Fast forward to when the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg, the Moose became available for relocation in the AHL and there was a lot of talk of them coming to Victoria as the Canucks affiliate. The WHL didn't want to lose Victoria as a market so they let RG Properties buy the Chilliwack Bruins and relocate them to Victoria. Victoria got their beloved WHL team back and the Moose moved to St. John's and became Winnipeg's AHL affiliate. The NHL returning to Winnipeg had a major effect on 4 leagues in Canada. I think Victoria is always going to be a major junior city. The minor pro circuit was a good filler but fans really wanted the WHL.

 

Also we can't forget about the Victoria Grizzles (formerly the Victoria Salsa) of the BCHL who play out in Colwood at The Q Centre (I think they should rename the team to the West Shore Grizzles or something that reflects their location more accurately). Another hockey league/team would really over saturate the market there. The Grizzles don't draw that well and I think the Royals are now back in the rebuilding phase and are not seeing a lot of on ice success. This will hurt their attendance when they eventually return to playing in front of fans.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

AHL announces plans for 2021 playoffs, 21-22 calendar | TheAHL.com | The American Hockey League

No Calder Cup, regular season division champs will be awarded trophies for all but the Pacific Division, who will have some sort of mini tournament to declare their winner.

Edited by BeerGuyJordan
Phrasing clarification
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How long until the Pacific AHL teams actually break away and form their own league. They've been given a decent bit of autonomy/preferential treatment already.

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On 5/1/2021 at 2:24 PM, Geoff said:

How long until the Pacific AHL teams actually break away and form their own league. They've been given a decent bit of autonomy/preferential treatment already.


I'd be all for that.  I'd even hope for a domino effect where the Midwestern teams reform the IHL. 

 

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The NHL has just spent the last twenty years consolidating their control over minor league hockey and the AHL, why would they break up the party now?

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Developmentally, it makes more sense to consolidate as opposed to spread out; the AHL-ECHL system has worked perfectly for the NHL, and there's nowhere near the kind of money necessary right now for a bunch of minor-league teams to go founding their own league.

 

Besides, it makes it easier to sell your AHL tickets if you have the promise of seeing future NHL players, a lot like how lots of people buy Triple-A baseball tickets to watch future MLB players. Without that, what's to say some of the teams moving to this new league don't flounder horribly?

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39 minutes ago, Ridleylash said:

Developmentally, it makes more sense to consolidate as opposed to spread out; the AHL-ECHL system has worked perfectly for the NHL, and there's nowhere near the kind of money necessary right now for a bunch of minor-league teams to go founding their own league.

 

Besides, it makes it easier to sell your AHL tickets if you have the promise of seeing future NHL players, a lot like how lots of people buy Triple-A baseball tickets to watch future MLB players. Without that, what's to say some of the teams moving to this new league don't flounder horribly?

Sort of a counter-point: There are 2 AAA leagues, PCL and IL or whatever the hell MLB is calling them now.

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54 minutes ago, Ridleylash said:

Developmentally, it makes more sense to consolidate as opposed to spread out; the AHL-ECHL system has worked perfectly for the NHL, and there's nowhere near the kind of money necessary right now for a bunch of minor-league teams to go founding their own league.

 

Besides, it makes it easier to sell your AHL tickets if you have the promise of seeing future NHL players, a lot like how lots of people buy Triple-A baseball tickets to watch future MLB players. Without that, what's to say some of the teams moving to this new league don't flounder horribly?


Is that really even the case anymore?  Much like with baseball, any young kid who shows promise nowadays is called up to the big leagues within a year or two if even that.  The Triple A level is just a place to stockpile guys who aren't quite good enough for the big club in case of injuries.

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18 hours ago, sportsfan7 said:

Sort of a counter-point: There are 2 AAA leagues, PCL and IL or whatever the hell MLB is calling them now.

 

Or something like the CHL, where there are three different "leagues" under one larger, umbrella league.

 

There doesn't need to be a dissolution of the AHL or teams breaking away to create their own leagues, just have regionalized "leagues" under the AHL banner. Though have four leagues so the AHL doesn't have a Memorial Cup thing happening.

 

Not that I'm saying it's something I think the AHL should do, I honestly don't know (or care enough) about the AHL to really have an opinion on it, but it's a hypothetical that doesn't immediately jump to the fracturing of the AHL.

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