According to several reports, there’s a whole lotta movement going on in the American Hockey League, as the much-rumoured “West Division” moves from a mere notion towards becoming reality.
The AHL’s Board of Governors are slated to meet at the end of the month for their regular meeting, coinciding with the league’s All-Star festivities. At that point, we may get some details made official. For now, here’s the gist of what we think we know about what’s happening next season.
Prior to Christmas, Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun reported the following:
The Los Angeles Kings (Manchester, N.H) already own the ECHL Ontario
Reign. Ther Calgary Flames (Adirondack, N.Y.) are expected to announce
the purchase of Stockton Thunder, currently owned by Brad Rowbotham of
Red Deer. Anaheim (Norfolk, Virginia) is looking at either San Diego or
Long Beach. That would leave only San Jose (Worchester, Mass.) in search
of a spot.
Yesterday, the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot reported the following:
Norfolk is 1 of 5 cities expected to lose AHL teams to the move west,
joining Manchester, N.H.; Worcester, Mass.; Glens Falls, N.Y.; and
Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City officials confirmed Wednesday that their
franchise will cease operations after this season, and the Bakersfield
Californian newspaper reported that the Oklahoma City team will relocate
Given what has been reported and confirmed elsewhere, here’s the gist of what we think we know as of today:
- The Flames will relocate their AHL affiliate from Glens Falls, New York to Stockton, California (where the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL currently play).
- The L.A. Kings will effectively swap their AHL and ECHL affiliates; Ontario, California will host their AHL club (rather than their current ECHL team) and Manchester, New Hampshire will get the ECHL club (rather than their current AHL team).
- The Ducks will relocate their affiliate from Norfolk, Virginia to San Diego, California, which currently has no hockey team.
- The Oilers will relocate their affiliate from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Bakersfield, California, which presently has the ECHL’s Condors.
- The Sharks will relocate their affiliate from Worcester, Massachusetts to somewhere in California, presumably Long Beach, which currently has no hockey team.
Be forewarned, though, the only part of my list of presumptions and guesses that has been officially confirmed or announced is that the Edmonton Oilers will not be continuing their affiliation with the Oklahoma City Barons (and that is triggering the dissolution of that franchise at the end of this season).
I think it’s safe to say that developments in this realm are far from over, as a lot of dominoes need to officially fall for this to come to fruition, rather than the present – where dominoes are either presumed to be falling, rumoured to be falling or expected to be falling in the near future based on reports.
The expected January 25 AHL Board of Governors meeting will likely be the next time we hear actual official news on this topic, presuming there’s nothing new broken in the interim.