randyc

AHL Franchise Relocation News & Rumors

Recommended Posts

Here's what I'm thinking:

Chicago Wolves franchise gets bought by Canucks, team moves to become the Abbotsford Canucks, Rockford IceHogs move to Allstate Arena to become the new Chicago Wolves (the Blackhawks' affiliate too).

Wolves fans would riot.

It is a weird disconnect. Obviously, I'm a Blackhawks fan, and pretty much can't stand the Canucks. But I have no problem cheering on the Canucks' prospects, and I fairly loathe the FreezerPigs. And the idea of Hawks clone jerseys with the Wolves' logo on the front makes me kinda ill. There's a decent amount of bad history between the two clubs from the Dollar Bill era, too, and I'm convinced that a Hawks-affiliated Wolves team would end up getting intentionally undersold and marginalized.

That all matters to me as a longtime avid fan. But seeing as how the majority of Wolves ticket-buyers (probably) are folks who want to take their kids out to see a hockey game without dropping a whole week's pay, I don't know how much of an impact such a move would truly have.

No cognitive dissonance here. I'm a Blackhawks fan and a Rockford fan -- though not a fan of the horrid "IceHogs" nickname, which I avoid almost as much as "Wild." I want the Hawks to do well and I want their prospects to do well; the two go hand in hand. I never had thoughts one way or the other about the Wolves, but now that they're affiliated with the Canucks, I wish their prospects nothing but ill, or that the Wolves do to Vancouver's development what they did to Winnipeg's.

I don't want the Wolves to affiliate with the Hawks. Superficially, it's nice to have the farm team in your back yard, but it's hardly as if cannonballing 90 minutes down the expressway is running up the costs. I mean, geez, the Kings have their prospects in New Hampshire. But what's best for Chicago Hockey in the wide view is a strong Blackhawks organization and a competitive, exciting, fun-for-the-family Wolves team, and it would be very hard for the Wolves to be the quadruple-A team they want to be if they're getting pressure from the parent club to play this guy, send up that guy, cut costs, so on, and it would be bad for the Blackhawks if the Wolves treated them like they treated the Thrashers and told them to go screw themselves. Therefore, it's best to keep the junior Blackhawks isolated in something of a lab environment where everything they do is informed by maximizing player development with only perfunctory regard for the 3,000 or so dead-enders who support the local team. It's not like Calgary and their trail of dead; you won't have trouble getting people in northern Illinois to get behind a Blackhawks team. The only problem is Rockford itself and its horrifying economy or lack thereof.

So in conclusion leave the Wolves alone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Abbotsford is a pointless place for an AHL Franchise. I could understand Calgary wanting to stay there if they had some of their divisional rivals within 300 miles or so, but when the closest team to you is in Oklahoma City, time to start thinking about other alternatives. Also the Flames would take a huge hit in the pocket book by cutting off ties with Abbotsford, more than they already have being near dead last in attendance.

Anyways it's all a rumor. Flames and Heat both deny. Moving to Utica is probably the right thing to do, just because you'll be with in close distance of 3/4 of the AHL.

http://www.news1130....espite-reports/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Frankly, if they're intent on moving back East, they would be better served to let it ride for one more year in Abbotsford, then pull right into Glens Falls when the Phantoms move to Lehigh Valley.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.uticaod.c...013-2014-Season

With this move, I wouldn't be surprised if the Canucks farm team moved to Abbotsford from Chicago.

I wonder if the Utica team will keep the heat name, changes to Flames, or bring in a new nickname?

Well, there goes my hope that the AHL would expand out west... :P

Edited by DustDevil61

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's always the "E" for the Glendale Desert Dawgs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly I wouldn't be terribly surprised if Abbotsford attempted to make a play for the Prince George Cougars. A WHL team is probably what they really wanted all along, and now that Chilliwack is dead they don't have to worry about cannibalizing the market more than they have AND can Lord their team over Chilliwack.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That silly arena was only built because Chilliwack had an arena and they didn't.

Good riddance, Heat. Been a slice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's what I'm thinking:

Chicago Wolves franchise gets bought by Canucks, team moves to become the Abbotsford Canucks, Rockford IceHogs move to Allstate Arena to become the new Chicago Wolves (the Blackhawks' affiliate too).

Wolves fans would riot.

It is a weird disconnect. Obviously, I'm a Blackhawks fan, and pretty much can't stand the Canucks. But I have no problem cheering on the Canucks' prospects, and I fairly loathe the FreezerPigs. And the idea of Hawks clone jerseys with the Wolves' logo on the front makes me kinda ill. There's a decent amount of bad history between the two clubs from the Dollar Bill era, too, and I'm convinced that a Hawks-affiliated Wolves team would end up getting intentionally undersold and marginalized.

That all matters to me as a longtime avid fan. But seeing as how the majority of Wolves ticket-buyers (probably) are folks who want to take their kids out to see a hockey game without dropping a whole week's pay, I don't know how much of an impact such a move would truly have.

No cognitive dissonance here. I'm a Blackhawks fan and a Rockford fan -- though not a fan of the horrid "IceHogs" nickname, which I avoid almost as much as "Wild." I want the Hawks to do well and I want their prospects to do well; the two go hand in hand. I never had thoughts one way or the other about the Wolves, but now that they're affiliated with the Canucks, I wish their prospects nothing but ill, or that the Wolves do to Vancouver's development what they did to Winnipeg's.

I don't want the Wolves to affiliate with the Hawks. Superficially, it's nice to have the farm team in your back yard, but it's hardly as if cannonballing 90 minutes down the expressway is running up the costs. I mean, geez, the Kings have their prospects in New Hampshire. But what's best for Chicago Hockey in the wide view is a strong Blackhawks organization and a competitive, exciting, fun-for-the-family Wolves team, and it would be very hard for the Wolves to be the quadruple-A team they want to be if they're getting pressure from the parent club to play this guy, send up that guy, cut costs, so on, and it would be bad for the Blackhawks if the Wolves treated them like they treated the Thrashers and told them to go screw themselves. Therefore, it's best to keep the junior Blackhawks isolated in something of a lab environment where everything they do is informed by maximizing player development with only perfunctory regard for the 3,000 or so dead-enders who support the local team. It's not like Calgary and their trail of dead; you won't have trouble getting people in northern Illinois to get behind a Blackhawks team. The only problem is Rockford itself and its horrifying economy or lack thereof.

So in conclusion leave the Wolves alone.

I still say Milwaukee, not Rockford, is the ideal spot for a Blackhawks farm club. Contrary to popular belief, Milwaukeeans aren't averse to supporting a Chicago team that's not in direct competition with a local team (as evidenced by all the Cubs fans that were here before the Brewers switched leagues)... especially not now that WWW croaked (good riddance!). Having Hawks prospects play downtown would justify having their games broadcast on Milwaukee TV and give them a chance to expand their fan base beyond Kenosha. A few exhibition games at the Bradley Center probably wouldn't hurt either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said in the NHL thread, Utica's surrounded by AHL teams in Rochester, Binghamton, Albany, and only an hour away in Syracuse. So yes, let's have another Upstate NY AHL team! Not enough of them here anyway. Might as well move the Texas teams to Elmira, Ithaca, and Watertown while we're at it :upside:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem is that Milwaukee is another AHL market that deserves better than getting ice time for the prospects and letting the chips fall where they may. It seems like Admirals interest has gone down as they've gone further down the Predator Pipeline rabbit hole. Generally, I think you want your big-arena teams to put on the best shows possible, while the teams in small arenas don't have that obligation.

The AHL has another identity crisis in addition to geography where they don't know if they really want to commit to being the best developmental league around or if they just want to have their "AHL all-stars" who hang around having nice careers. The problems with giving themselves over to development completely are that it doesn't always correlate to winning, and that hockey's impact players tend to go right from major-junior to NHL with little to no AHL time, so really Tomorrow's Stars Today usually just end up being acceptable bottom-sixers and such with a few top-six/top-2-pairings contributors who come up now and then. There's a whole AHL culture and fandom out there that really I don't connect with at all. The only thing I care about is development for the Blackhawks, but I'd also like a solid hockey presence in Wisconsin, and I'm not sure a bare-bones operation like the Hawks have (I'm not totally sure on how ownership works -- I think the franchise is technically owned by the MetroCentre and by extension the City of Rockford/Winnebago County, but the hockey-ops seem to be pretty much controlled by the Hawks) is best for the big picture. Telecasts in Milwaukee and Madison would be nice, though!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope Utica does well here because I don't want that city to suffer what Omaha, the Quad Cities and Abbotsford are suffering through.

So you're saying you don't want them to get the Flames' farm team.

Sure. I'll go with that. Hell, the Flames could put their farm team in freaking Africa and they would still be bored.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said in the NHL thread, Utica's surrounded by AHL teams in Rochester, Binghamton, Albany, and only an hour away in Syracuse. So yes, let's have another Upstate NY AHL team! Not enough of them here anyway. Might as well move the Texas teams to Elmira, Ithaca, and Watertown while we're at it :upside:

You forgot Batavia... some people just don't want to drive 40 minutes to see the Amerks or Sabres.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said in the NHL thread, Utica's surrounded by AHL teams in Rochester, Binghamton, Albany, and only an hour away in Syracuse. So yes, let's have another Upstate NY AHL team! Not enough of them here anyway. Might as well move the Texas teams to Elmira, Ithaca, and Watertown while we're at it :upside:

You forgot Batavia... some people just don't want to drive 40 minutes to see the Amerks or Sabres.

I also totally forgot the actually existing team in Glens Falls, too. You know, because those 45 minutes on the Northway in non-summer Lake George traffic is a killer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But they're moving to Allentown in a year or two, so that keeps the upstate New York saturation about the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem is that Milwaukee is another AHL market that deserves better than getting ice time for the prospects and letting the chips fall where they may. It seems like Admirals interest has gone down as they've gone further down the Predator Pipeline rabbit hole. Generally, I think you want your big-arena teams to put on the best shows possible, while the teams in small arenas don't have that obligation.

Agreed... perhaps it might be best for the Ads to affiliate with a Vancouver-type team that really doesn't care about their farm system. But as long as they're content to just be a place where guys work out their kinks before heading to the "big time," then affiliating with an Original Six club from 90 minutes down the freeway is far more preferable than a team of future Nashville freakin' Predators. And by "preferable" I mean the difference between people in a city with major league franchises actually being willing to drop money to see a minor league club.

Even without a Hawks-Ads affiliation though, I still say it would behoove the Hawks to play some exhibition games at the Bradley Center.

The AHL has another identity crisis in addition to geography where they don't know if they really want to commit to being the best developmental league around or if they just want to have their "AHL all-stars" who hang around having nice careers. The problems with giving themselves over to development completely are that it doesn't always correlate to winning, and that hockey's impact players tend to go right from major-junior to NHL with little to no AHL time, so really Tomorrow's Stars Today usually just end up being acceptable bottom-sixers and such with a few top-six/top-2-pairings contributors who come up now and then. There's a whole AHL culture and fandom out there that really I don't connect with at all. The only thing I care about is development for the Blackhawks, but I'd also like a solid hockey presence in Wisconsin, and I'm not sure a bare-bones operation like the Hawks have (I'm not totally sure on how ownership works -- I think the franchise is technically owned by the MetroCentre and by extension the City of Rockford/Winnebago County, but the hockey-ops seem to be pretty much controlled by the Hawks) is best for the big picture. Telecasts in Milwaukee and Madison would be nice, though!

The entire structure of minor league hockey's business model perplexes me... baseball doesn't even try to cram all of its AAA and AA clubs into a single league. When you play a schedule as division-heavy as the AHL's, it's a sign that you've pretty much failed at being a national entity. I honestly don't understand why the AHL and ECHL aren't at least three separate leagues a piece.

As far as Hawks telecasts in Wisconsin; Milwaukee is easily justifiable, as Kenosha is part of the local TV market and a haven of Chicago sports teams. But Madison might be more loyal to the Wild... everywhere to the west of it certainly is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The entire structure of minor league hockey's business model perplexes me... baseball doesn't even try to cram all of its AAA and AA clubs into a single league. When you play a schedule as division-heavy as the AHL's, it's a sign that you've pretty much failed at being a national entity. I honestly don't understand why the AHL and ECHL aren't at least three separate leagues a piece.

Well, the AHL took care of the northeast while the IHL had the midwest/south/Rockies, but the IHL got too big and collapsed under its own crapulence around 2001, 2002. The AHL took in Chicago, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids, Winnipeg, Salt Lake City, Houston, and maybe a few others I forget, but never really integrated them into the league fully, for obvious reasons. I believe there was a WCHL and an ECHL, but the WCHL fell apart and their teams were taken in by the ECHL.

We'd really be better off with two Triple-A leagues again with a few independent teams rather than a 1-to-1 AHL where the idiot bastard sons of the IHL are tolerated but only made to play one another. Of course, we're now looking at an NHL where the idiot bastard sons of the Western Conference are tolerated but only made to play one another, so I shouldn't get my hopes up. Oh, and same for Double-A hockey, which I feel is a really underused resource. I don't even know what goes on at an ECHL game. I suspect a million fights, but there has to be a better use for it than that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said in the NHL thread, Utica's surrounded by AHL teams in Rochester, Binghamton, Albany, and only an hour away in Syracuse. So yes, let's have another Upstate NY AHL team! Not enough of them here anyway. Might as well move the Texas teams to Elmira, Ithaca, and Watertown while we're at it :upside:

"Go on, I'm listening." --David Andrews

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Abbotsford is a pointless place for an AHL Franchise. I could understand Calgary wanting to stay there if they had some of their divisional rivals within 300 miles or so, but when the closest team to you is in Oklahoma City, time to start thinking about other alternatives. Also the Flames would take a huge hit in the pocket book by cutting off ties with Abbotsford, more than they already have being near dead last in attendance.

Anyways it's all a rumor. Flames and Heat both deny. Moving to Utica is probably the right thing to do, just because you'll be with in close distance of 3/4 of the AHL.

http://www.news1130....espite-reports/

Ever since the Flames set up Abbotsford there have been calls for them to move due to the distance to the nearest teams--so while it may be a rumour it wouldn't surprise me, and if they do move their minor league team somewhere else I would be surprised if the AHL lets someone else put their team in Abbotsford.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the AHL took care of the northeast while the IHL had the midwest/south/Rockies, but the IHL got too big and collapsed under its own crapulence around 2001, 2002. The AHL took in Chicago, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids, Winnipeg, Salt Lake City, Houston, and maybe a few others I forget, but never really integrated them into the league fully, for obvious reasons. I believe there was a WCHL and an ECHL, but the WCHL fell apart and their teams were taken in by the ECHL.

We'd really be better off with two Triple-A leagues again with a few independent teams rather than a 1-to-1 AHL where the idiot bastard sons of the IHL are tolerated but only made to play one another. Of course, we're now looking at an NHL where the idiot bastard sons of the Western Conference are tolerated but only made to play one another, so I shouldn't get my hopes up. Oh, and same for Double-A hockey, which I feel is a really underused resource. I don't even know what goes on at an ECHL game. I suspect a million fights, but there has to be a better use for it than that.

Oh, I know how we ended up with singular AAA and AA leagues, I'm just not understanding why the Milwaukees, Chicagos, Grand Rapids', et all find it preferable to stay with a bloated AHL rather than, say, forming a breakaway league with the rest of the teams in Big Ten (not B1G) country... perhaps even adding an Indianapolis and/or a Des Moines to fill out their ranks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the AHL took care of the northeast while the IHL had the midwest/south/Rockies, but the IHL got too big and collapsed under its own crapulence around 2001, 2002. The AHL took in Chicago, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids, Winnipeg, Salt Lake City, Houston, and maybe a few others I forget, but never really integrated them into the league fully, for obvious reasons. I believe there was a WCHL and an ECHL, but the WCHL fell apart and their teams were taken in by the ECHL.

We'd really be better off with two Triple-A leagues again with a few independent teams rather than a 1-to-1 AHL where the idiot bastard sons of the IHL are tolerated but only made to play one another. Of course, we're now looking at an NHL where the idiot bastard sons of the Western Conference are tolerated but only made to play one another, so I shouldn't get my hopes up. Oh, and same for Double-A hockey, which I feel is a really underused resource. I don't even know what goes on at an ECHL game. I suspect a million fights, but there has to be a better use for it than that.

Oh, I know how we ended up with singular AAA and AA leagues, I'm just not understanding why the Milwaukees, Chicagos, Grand Rapids', et all find it preferable to stay with a bloated AHL rather than, say, forming a breakaway league with the rest of the teams in Big Ten (not B1G) country... perhaps even adding an Indianapolis and/or a Des Moines to fill out their ranks.

I might hazard that surviving the IHL in its death throes was so unpleasant an experience the remaining old IHL owners are in no hurry to repeat it. I'm not sure if you'd be able to get a lease in Indianapolis as well; the junior team seems to be fairly entrenched.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.