If there’s one constant in the world of minor league hockey, it’s change. Per some reporting by our friends at The Fourth Period and Mayor’s Manor, the Calgary Flames could be making a change with their formerly nomadic American Hockey League affiliate as soon as 2021-22.
As @mayorNHL reports, I’ve also heard the expected club is the Calgary Flames’ affiliate that could move from Stockton to Col Springs. Deal isn’t done, but told it’s getting there. https://t.co/wHl7acfrmd
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) February 17, 2020
So here’s the gist of what we know right now:
Per recent reporting from The Stockton Record’s Scott Linesburgh, the Flames (who own the Heat) and the City of Stockton (who own Stockton Arena) have been negotiating for a short-term extension to the lease. That extension would run through 2020-21. At the same time, they’re having broader talks about a longer-term deal – but there haven’t been any indications how those chats have been going.
Meanwhile, Colorado College is playing out of Broadmoor World Arena. They’re expected to move to a new building – currently under construction – in 2021-22. That would leave their old arena in need of a new primary tenant.
Flying call-ups from Stockton is a bit of an adventure. The drive from Stockton to San Francisco’s airport is an hour and a half, followed by a three hour flight to Calgary. Colorado Springs is just as much of a haul to Denver’s airport, but Denver’s more centrally-located relative to the rest of the NHL’s cities and so travel could be a tad easier for call-ups.
The allure of placing several AHL clubs in California was less travel, more practice time and improved development for the prospects of the involved NHL organizations. For the most part, the experiment has worked but there have been a few wrinkles here and there – the Barracuda sharing an arena with the Sharks hasn’t worked amazingly well, for example. It seems very evident that the AHL’s California adventure will continue for the long term, but it remains to be seen if the Flames will continue to be involved or if they’ll move their farm team to Colorado Springs (or elsewhere). When reached, the Heat declined to comment on the status of their lease in Stockton.
Since finally re-establishing their own farm club after the 2004-05 lockout, the Flames have seen their AHL club play in Omaha (2005-07), Quad City (2007-09), Abbotsford (2009-14), Adirondack (2014-15) and Stockton (2015-present).
We’ll have more on this story as it develops.