Originally Posted by FolignofortheCalder
In light if the Canucks buying Peoria from the Blues, I'm trying to figure out how the buying/selling of AHL teams works. The 'Nucks already have the Chicago Wolves and I'm sure they're not allowed to own multiple AHL teams so what do they do now? Sell the Wolves, give them to the Blues, or what? Also I assume the players/coaches of Peoria still belong to the Blues, correct?
Addressing the OP's question in the thread title:
The key to understanding the relationship between NHL teams and AHL teams is understanding that there are two key aspects to any minor-league team -- the _franchise_, which is the right to play as a team in a specific league, and the _affiliation_, which in the AHL's case is "the supplier of players to the team".
So what's happened here is that the Rivermen had an affiliation with the Blues, AND the Rivermen _franchise_ was also owned by the Blues. In this transaction, the FRANCHISE is what was sold from the Blues to the Canucks. The Blues are now free to negotiate an AFFILIATION agreement with any AHL FRANCHISE holder. Where that gets complicated is that there are exactly 30 AHL franchises, which means a game of musical chairs where the last person, instead of being totally left out, ends up likely "stuck" with the last available chair, even if it's not the one that's most comfortable for that person.
OK, it's not a perfect analogy, because in theory any NHL team could decide (as Anaheim did a few seasons ago, before the AHL finally made its way up to 30 teams, IIRC) that they're not going to sign an AHL affiliation agreement with anyone, and just sprinkle their prospects among various AHL teams that would accept the "loan" of the player, or sometimes just working with their ECHL affiliation(s). But the key is that the affiliation provides the players. What else any given affiliation provides is detail left up to the specifics of the negotiating parties -- so Vancouver's agreement with the Wolves, for example, is likely VERY different from Ottawa's agreement with Binghamton, in terms of who hires the coach, who GM's the team outside NHL-assigned players, and who decides the details of playing time and on-ice approach.
As others have already pointed out, the Wolves are not owned by the Canucks -- the Canucks were, up to this point, simply getting paid by the Wolves' ownership to supply the Wolves with an AHL roster. With the purchase of the former Rivermen _franchise_, the Canucks now only have to negotiate with themselves when it comes to the affiliation. However, they do still have to, as owners of the _franchise_, negotiate an arena lease somewhere. Maybe Peoria, maybe Abbotsford (if Calgary can be convinced to vacate, or to do some complicated franchise ownership transfer that means the Canucks trade the Rivermen franchise to Calgary in return for the Heat, potentially leaving the Heat's AMAZINGLY sweet lease in place for the Canucks/Rivermen to take advantage of), maybe elsewhere that doesn't currently have a hockey tenant or may be about to lose one (Houston? Kansas City? Seattle (Key Arena)? Tacoma? San Diego? Long Beach? Des Moines?)
So, here's the parties as they stand, and what they have to do before next season:
*Know which AHL franchise they're affiliating with (the former Rivermen, over which they now have full control)
*Haven't announced where that franchise will play in 2013-14 (may know it, but it hasn't been made public)
*Must either sign a lease somewhere for next season, announce a signing that has already taken place, or announce they will take the Rivermen franchise dormant for a season.
ST. LOUIS BLUES:
*Have not indicated for certain which AHL franchise they're affiliating with - rumors point towards the one apparently newly-available opening in Chicago, which was made available by the Canucks not renewing their affiliation for next season.
*Must conclude an affiliation agreement for next season with SOME AHL team, or try to find alternate "homes" for their AHL players for 2013-14.
*As of this moment, know which franchise they're affiliating with, as they own the Heat (or have at least 50% ownership).
*Don't _have_ to do anything for next season, unless they are deciding to move the Abbotsford franchise. If they do move the franchise, they will need to agree to a lease and announce it.
*As of this moment, do NOT know for sure which NHL team they will affiliate with in 2013-14 -- the most likely partner may be St. Louis and the Blues, but they have the option of negotiating an affiliation agreement with any willing partner, and if I'm not mistaken, there is more than one affiliation agreement that is up for renewal or transfer after this 2012-13 season.
*COULD in theory play the 2013-14 season without any NHL affiliation, but the league's replies to whether a team would be allowed to do so seem to always say "technically yes, but we don't think any owner would put themselves under that much of a financial burden to have to pay ALL of their players themselves instead of getting them supplied relatively cheaply through the NHL parent". So, it's a technical possibility, but a longshot.
*Non-player character - controlled by the Canucks now.
*Non-player character - controlled by the Flames.
Hope this helps!