Abbotsford Flames to Utica?
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02-24-2013, 06:12 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Langley, BC
Not really surprising. The team has been a pretty spectacular failure in terms of drawing fans (never cracked 4k per game average, have fallen from 8th worst to 5th worst, to 2nd worst in the last 3 years and currently sit 4th worst but have had paltry attendance #s for recent games (the AHL website's data from last night says they were at 2,800 for I believe a game against Peoria) And I'd be willing to bet those #s are inflated to begin with just like any other attendance figure (the last time I attended Heat games a couple years ago, I'd be hard-pressed to say there was more than 1,500-2,000 fans in the stands for the 5ish games I went to)
The only time fans show up is when the Canucks farm team plays.
Add to that the fact that people in Abbotsford are livid over the deal that the city struck with the team that left the public on the hook for the arena and subsidizing the team, and the fact that Abbotsford is all alone out west compared to the rest of the league (necessitating higher travel cost to face just one team and in turn that goofy constant back-to-back games setup) and it's pretty much a no-win situation for them. Oh, and the fact that Abbotsford is kind of out in the boonies for fans in the lower mainland who are west of Abbotsford (Langley, Surrey, Burnaby, Vancouver, etc) Which sucks because I would love for there to be constant minor league action out west.
Realistically the only way that a team works out here is if a) It's the Canucks farm club, and/or b) at least a half-dozen teams exist and play in the Pacific and Mountain time zones to allow for more sensible road trips. if Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Colorado, and the Pacific division NHL teams could all have their teams out west (keeping the Stars' farm team in Texas), it might almost be workable. Except that any city in BC getting a team besides the Canucks would still have the loyalty/attendance issues the Heat do.
Unfortunately (or fortunately if you're the league and a fan of it outside of Abbotsford), there aren't enough unstable AHL markets for that to work.
It kind of sucks, because I was excited when the Heat came out here, but even as a non-Canucks fan with no particular dislike/rivalry with Calgary to taint the franchise in my eyes, I could never get attached to a team that was out in Abbotsford. And my own stake in seeing AHL hockey (Worcester, for Sharks prospects) basically evaporated after the 1st season when the Sharks farm team started declining the trip out west.
"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows..."
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