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Majik1987 05-13-2009 04:00 PM

AHL response to team eligibility when a franchise loses its NHL affiliate
 
Every so often, the topic comes up about whether an AHL team requires an NHL affiliate in order to play in the league. In order to settle the debate, we contacted the AHL to obtain a definitive response. The response below matches a previous response that was obtained from the league in a similar exercise a number of years ago. The email was sent May 11, 2009; the response was received May 13, 2009.


My email to the league
Quote:

Hello,

Introductory paragraph

I was hoping that we could get a response from the league that I could share with our community regarding this question...

Does an AHL team have to have an NHL parent club in order to be eligible to play in the AHL in a given year? Particularly, if a team had an affiliation the prior year, but loses it, could they play the next year without an NHL affiliation (i.e. could the Iowa Chops play next year if they don't find affiliate over the summer despite efforts to do so)?

I understand that situations and circumstances may call for different solutions, but any guidance you could provide our community on this matter would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Kind regards,

XXXXXXX
Contact details
League Response
Quote:

XXXXXXX,

I canít really speak to hypothetical situations. As part of the initial AHL membership application a potential owner must have an NHL affiliation in place, but the leagueís governing documents do not necessarily prevent an existing franchise from continuing to operate should it lose its affiliation.

Realistically, though, with the costs that would be incurred by an AHL owner paying a full rosterís worth of salaries (plus coaches, trainers, other expenses, etc.), and with the shallow player pool from which to sign players while still being guided by the AHLís development rule, itís probably not a very attractive option.

Thanks for taking the time to write in.

Sincerely,

===========================
Jason Chaimovitch
Vice President of Communications,
American Hockey League
As a result of the above, it appears that any application for membership must have an NHL affiliate as part of its acceptance. However, once in the league, a team could operate without an affiliation.

pelts35.com 05-14-2009 01:52 PM

Majik,

Here's the email that I sent to Jason and the reply...

"Can a team not affiliated with an NHL parent club operate in the American Hockey League? In other words, could an independent team purchase an AHL franchise and operate without an NHL affiliation? Along the same lines, could a team that has an AHL franchise and loses its parent club (for example, if Washington and Hershey ended their affiliation), operate without a parent club?"

The answer I received was

"To answer your question, as part of the application for membership for an AHL franchise, a potential AHL owner must have evidence of an affiliation agreement in place.

The league's constitution, by-laws, regulations or policies do not necessarily prevent an existing franchise from operating independently should it lose its NHL affiliate, but considering (a) there are 30 National Hockey League teams who need an environment in which to develop their top prospects; (b) there is not a surplus of AHL franchises relative to the number of NHL franchises; (c) the additional costs that would be incurred if an AHL owner had to pay all of its players' salaries and other expenses; and (d) it would likely be difficult to ice a competitive product using a talent pool that doesn't include NHL-contracted players while still being guided by the AHL's development rule; I don't think it's likely we would see it happen."

Majik1987 05-14-2009 03:25 PM

Thanks, pelts. The two are similar, so that should answer the question definitively.

Just a side note, point b (there is not a surplus of AHL franchises relative to the number of NHL franchises;) isn't really true, at least for next season.

Quote:

The Board approved a limited membership to Hicks Cedar Park, LLC, to allow for the operation of an AHL team in Austin, Texas, for the 2009-10 season. The limited membership is conditioned on Hicks Cedar Park, LLC, completing the purchase of an AHL franchise within one year.
Link
There will technically be 31 AHL teams/franchises (the 29 normal NHL/AHL affilated teams, plus the dormant Edmonton franchise, PLUS the limited membership to allow Dallas to field a team next season.)

I'm not trying to invalidate your response from the league. Obviously, the situation has changed since you emailed the league a few years ago. I just think it is interesting to point out that this is another example where despite the by-laws, rules, etc. there is a way around things.

SeaToby 02-20-2010 10:27 PM

Well the Texas Stars may not have a franchise, they have a club with a ten year affiliation with the Dallas Stars, not to mention a twenty five year arrangement with the Cedar Park Center. Notice there are now 29 AHL clubs but only 30 NHL affiliations along with one suspended and one dormant franchise.

One of the clubs will end up without a NHL affililation, and will most likely have to be sold to Dallas/Texas. Hell would freeze over before the Dallas Stars sign an affiliation with another AHL club.

The Iowa Chops franchise even if it sold to a local ownership group would still need a NHL affiliation. As does Springfield. Keep in mind the Portland Pirates and Lowell Devils are owned by their NHL masters, both with affiliation agreements up along with the Syracuse Crunch. We have seen the Albany River Rats sell and move to Charlotte and Edmonton reprise their dormant franchise in Oklahoma City, a change from an affiliation with Springfield. So we are looking at 30 clubs next season with one suspended. Another club has resigned its affilation with the St. Louis Blues, the Peoria Rivermen.

But eventually there will be a franchise without an affiliation or that one sold to Dallas/Texas Stars, nevermind the suspended Iowa Chops..

Rumblick 02-21-2010 08:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SeaToby (Post 24019264)
Keep in mind the Portland Pirates and Lowell Devils are owned by their NHL masters, both with affiliation agreements up along with the Syracuse Crunch.


Just a note - Buffalo doesn't own Portland; the Pirates are locally owned.

SeaToby 05-11-2010 01:57 PM

Now that the AHL has expanded to thirty franchises, I am sure the previous situation has changed. There are now as many AHL clubs as there are NHL clubs, therefore, any AHL club must have a NHL affiliation....

pelts35.com 05-11-2010 02:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SeaToby (Post 25751897)
Now that the AHL has expanded to thirty franchises, I am sure the previous situation has changed. There are now as many AHL clubs as there are NHL clubs, therefore, any AHL club must have a NHL affiliation....

Why does the AHL having 30 franchises change this? Hypothetically speaking let's say that at this time next year all is set for the 11-12 season except that there is 1 NHL team and 1 AHL team that isn't set and that the AHL team does not want to sign an affiliation agreement with that NHL team (whether it be that the NHL team is charging too high of a fee, the AHL team doesn't think that the NHL team would be a good partner or whatever). Couldn't that AHL team decide to go independent for a season and wait to see who is available to affiliate with in 12-13?

Again this is hypothetical, but the AHL BoG couldn't force the AHL team to sign an affiliation agreement with a team that they don't want to sign an agreement with.

Rumblick 05-11-2010 02:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SeaToby (Post 25751897)
Now that the AHL has expanded to thirty franchises, I am sure the previous situation has changed. There are now as many AHL clubs as there are NHL clubs, therefore, any AHL club must have a NHL affiliation....

In theory, you're correct. In Lord David's domain, of course, anything is possible, I guess.

Frank Booth 05-11-2010 07:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rumblick (Post 25753009)
In theory, you're correct. In Lord David's domain, of course, anything is possible, I guess.

The guy is a puppet for the Governors. If you believe he is that powerful, you must believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.

Rumblick 05-12-2010 07:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frank Booth (Post 25757524)
The guy is a puppet for the Governors. If you believe he is that powerful, you must believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.

Had you been paying any attention at all the past few years, you'd know that I'm one of the few in here that does know that the BOG is the power base, and that LD is a figurehead.

What I'm implying is that given what we've seen the past few years, anything is possible if someone in power wants to see it happen (the"temporary franchise" granted to Texas being one example).

SeaToby 05-16-2010 01:37 PM

As David Andrews said at the All Star press conference, knowing full well that Edmonton and Iowa franchises were going to be dormant this year with the league having less than thirty teams, they allowed the Dallas/Texas Stars to open the new Cedar Park arena with the temporary license for one year. Doing so allowed the Dallas/Texas Stars to buy either Edmonton or Iowa's franchise, or another franchise. Not to mention that there was pressure on Edmonton to do something with their dormant franchise.

The Dallas Stars invested significantly into the new arena, wished to move there, but the loose ends kept them from buying a franchise. After all the Dallas Stars did attempt to buy a franchise at fair market values.

Notice how quickly the Iowa Chops were sold after the Polk County commissioners dropped the lawsuit and allowed the club to be sold and moved. Keep in mind after almost a year with no one buying the club to keep the club in Iowa. Furthermore, Andrews threatened that the AHL would close the Iowa franchise if there wasn't a settlement...

Tactics 06-25-2010 08:02 PM

I wonder if the AHL teams could indeed afford players salaries if they were not affiliated with a NHL team and thus did not have their assistance in paying the wages. Are the revenues and players wages for AHL teams disclosed to the public?

I would like to see the AHL as an independent league from the NHL and not dependent on their support and not be seen as anything more than a developmental league. I think it could greatly improve the quality of the game and its ability to retain a strong position in the sporting world.

Tommy Hawk 06-25-2010 11:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tactics (Post 26511259)
I wonder if the AHL teams could indeed afford players salaries if they were not affiliated with a NHL team and thus did not have their assistance in paying the wages. Are the revenues and players wages for AHL teams disclosed to the public?

I would like to see the AHL as an independent league from the NHL and not dependent on their support and not be seen as anything more than a developmental league. I think it could greatly improve the quality of the game and its ability to retain a strong position in the sporting world.

The issue is not if they can afford it but if there are players available. I personally think the veteran rule makes a boatload of players that are decent leave the game since there is nowhere for them to play. Considering most AHLers are making 50-65k per year on their NHL deal, you can work up the economics. Also, the team pays the NHL team an affiliation fee so instead of going to the NHL club, it would go to salaries. The old IHL was quite competitive, affiliated or not, as evidenced when former IHL teams won Calder in 02, 03, 04, and 08 and were in the finals in 05, 06, and 09. So only in 07 did a former IHL team not go to the finals and there are only 5 of them left from the "merger".

rmorrison100 03-06-2011 10:41 PM

I definitely agree with what you said Tommy. Somehow I want to see also that AHL can be an independent league from the NHL by all means. How To Sing

SFTC Addict 03-07-2011 05:46 PM

Just saw on an AHL Teams board that the Yotes fate is going to be decided in about a week and theres a good possibility they move the franchise to Winnipeg. So my question is what happens to the Rampage? Does the NHL team in Winnipeg take on the rest of the contract for the affiliation agreement or? Also any chnce you think the Manitoba team would be willing to try and make some kind of a deal for the Moose to keep them in town as the AHL Affiliate for the Winnipeg team? I suppose they could just scratch the franchise altogether though...

CHRDANHUTCH 03-07-2011 08:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jackalsfan1 (Post 31487167)
Just saw on an AHL Teams board that the Yotes fate is going to be decided in about a week and theres a good possibility they move the franchise to Winnipeg. So my question is what happens to the Rampage? Does the NHL team in Winnipeg take on the rest of the contract for the affiliation agreement or? Also any chnce you think the Manitoba team would be willing to try and make some kind of a deal for the Moose to keep them in town as the AHL Affiliate for the Winnipeg team? I suppose they could just scratch the franchise altogether though...

Manitoba likely will have to be sold off by TNSE if they should acquire another franchise....

It does not affect Phoenix or San Antonio if there's an existing agreement and San Antonio is not owned by the parent........as Toronto is and the Phantoms were

axecrew 03-07-2011 09:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CHRDANHUTCH (Post 31490529)
Manitoba likely will have to be sold off by TNSE if they should acquire another franchise....

It does not affect Phoenix or San Antonio if there's an existing agreement and San Antonio is not owned by the parent........as Toronto is and the Phantoms were

Wow more incoherent and error-laden comments from the professor. and I'm shocked why?

Why would True North have to sell Manitoba professor? If they buy PHX what does that have to do with the moose?

How does a move to Winnipeg NOT affect PHX and SA.....most likely scenario is to make the moose the affiliate of Winnepeg/Phx and that directly affects San Antonio wouldn't you say? What does who owns San Antonio have to do with what PHX does as to relocating? Regardless of who owns the Rampage, if Winnipeg decides to house their prospects in Winnipeg and keeps the moose around then, I'd say that has a huge affect on San Antonio regardless of who owns them. Not like an agreement between parent and affiliate has never been broken now is it?

Superdowney 06-06-2011 01:02 PM

I always thought the AHL was the farm league for the NHL. This has been an eye-opening read but I don't necessarily agree. Each team should have an NHL affiliate and it should be set in stone. I believe the NHL should own their AHL affiliate.

sabrefan27 06-06-2011 01:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Superdowney (Post 33444843)
I always thought the AHL was the farm league for the NHL. This has been an eye-opening read but I don't necessarily agree. Each team should have an NHL affiliate and it should be set in stone. I believe the NHL should own their AHL affiliate.

No. The AHL needs to have a level of independence, which is unfortunately slipping away.

pelts35.com 06-06-2011 01:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Superdowney (Post 33444843)
I always thought the AHL was the farm league for the NHL. This has been an eye-opening read but I don't necessarily agree. Each team should have an NHL affiliate and it should be set in stone. I believe the NHL should own their AHL affiliate.

This thinking is exactly why the AHL is not as nearly as entertaining as it was a decade ago. I rarely see eye to eye with Sabrefan, but we are 100% in agreement in this case.

SFTC Addict 06-06-2011 03:01 PM

Well, when you decide to become the top place for development then you really lose your purpose of independence. The AHL kinda did this to themselves. The powers that be(NHL)are just taking advantage now with weaker economic times. Not saying I agree with it but it is what it is. It could certainly be argued that the IHL was a better product then the AHL was/is now.

In a nutshell affiliated hockey sucks. You have no real control over ultimately winning a title. In the ECHL, the AHL can dictate your roster come Playoff time by holding out guys on you just because. In the AHL, injuries play a role and obviously the more injuries a parent club has the more an AHL team gets sticked.

I miss things like the old UHL. I missed watching guys play with passion(even if they were destined to go nowhere)now it's all pansies. Hardly any fights or big hits. Guys can get away with cheap stuff. The players are crybabies and believe they should be at a higher level than they are more often then not. If only the FHL could take off and become a reasonable level of play.

Majik1987 06-06-2011 03:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Superdowney (Post 33444843)
I always thought the AHL was the farm league for the NHL. This has been an eye-opening read but I don't necessarily agree. Each team should have an NHL affiliate and it should be set in stone. I believe the NHL should own their AHL affiliate.

If that's the sentiment, then why even play games? Just hold a series of scrimmages where minor league squads can just work on hockey skills. For instance, you could have one team focus on the power play and the other on the penalty kill for 60 minutes. The next night, reverse it. There would be no point in keeping score because the purpose is development. Just fling the gate open too and let people show up for free. No one is going to pay to watch two teams play out the string just to develop.

mtlhddoc2 06-06-2011 04:48 PM

Majik: they do in every other developmental league type deal. AAA, AA, A and rookie leagues in baseball, Continental League Basketball, college football. The NHL is the goal of all players in hockey. everything is a developmental league.

wildcat48 06-06-2011 05:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mtlhddoc2 (Post 33449647)
Majik: they do in every other developmental league type deal. AAA, AA, A and rookie leagues in baseball, Continental League Basketball, college football. The NHL is the goal of all players in hockey. everything is a developmental league.

That is absolutely correct... Not only that, if the AHL didn't take this path it wouldn't exists today because player cost would have driven a large majority of teams out of business. That's a lost fact in all of this.

There is an economic reality to the way the AHL operates.

SFTC Addict 06-06-2011 05:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Majik1987 (Post 33448446)
If that's the sentiment, then why even play games? Just hold a series of scrimmages where minor league squads can just work on hockey skills. For instance, you could have one team focus on the power play and the other on the penalty kill for 60 minutes. The next night, reverse it. There would be no point in keeping score because the purpose is development. Just fling the gate open too and let people show up for free. No one is going to pay to watch two teams play out the string just to develop.

Thats what the ECHL and AHL are though, basically. We the fams HATE to hear it, but it's the truth. If you think about it how the ECHL caters to the AHL, the AHL does the same for the NHL. The goal might be to win---internally. But the reality of it is, your ultimate success depends on what goes on with the higher ups.


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