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The Heat will play in the Saddledome for the 2020-21 season

Well, it’s finally official: the Stockton Heat will be playing out of Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome for the 2020-21 season. They’ll still be called the Stockton Heat and wear Stockton jerseys, but they’ll be part of the AHL’s Canadian Division for a truncated 2020-21 season.

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From the media release:

We are appreciative of the City of Stockton and the San Joaquin County Public Health Office for the work they put forward in attempt to accommodate the team for this season,” said Flames Assistant General Manager Brad Pascall. “However, the complications of cross border travel in the face of COVID-19 has brought us to our decision today.”

The AHL is still finalizing the schedule, but the Heat will be the lone American team in a division that features the Toronto Marlies (Leafs), Laval Rocket (Canadiens), Belleville Senators and Manitoba Moose (Jets).

The Flames will have their farm team in town and get to avoid federal quarantine complications, but the Heat will have to share the Saddledome with two other teams, which could impact practice time available given the logistical complications of maintaining COVID-19 compliance in a shared facility. They’ll also likely play less than they would in the AHL’s Pacific Division with the California teams, with fewer available opponents and more travel involved in getting to them.