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Abbotsford Flames to Utica?

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Old
02-24-2013, 12:39 PM
  #1
SPG
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Abbotsford Flames to Utica?

Flames to Utica?

http://m.uticaod.com/observerdis/pm_...tguid=ghYDy3Vi

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02-24-2013, 01:01 PM
  #2
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I just saw this on The Third Intermission (Houston). Abby to Utica for next season? Hard to believe that Calgary would pass up a sweetheart deal near their own team.



http://blog.syracuse...g_to_utica.html

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02-24-2013, 01:16 PM
  #3
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Originally Posted by adsfan View Post
I just saw this on The Third Intermission (Houston). Abby to Utica for next season? Hard to believe that Calgary would pass up a sweetheart deal near their own team.

http://blog.syracuse...g_to_utica.html
Sweetheart deal for Calgary, not so much for Abbotsford. I wonder what's going on lately between the city and the team. The news wires have been quiet about it since an opinion piece mentioned they're up to owing the Heat 1.6 million in guarantee revenue.

Three failures in eight years. Maybe the AHL should take away the franchise rights.

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02-24-2013, 05:12 PM
  #4
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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.

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02-24-2013, 06:02 PM
  #5
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If the team isn't attracting fans or doing well there then I can understand moving them, but Utica? Going further west is clearly not a solution going by that so why not move them to another Canadian market that is looking for a team to show they can support one? Like Quebec or a border city in America or maybe even a second Toronto team in the AHL.

Someone in the Lounge also mentioned Brampton, they lost their team. Would an AHL team work there?

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02-24-2013, 06:38 PM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrimper View Post
If the team isn't attracting fans or doing well there then I can understand moving them, but Utica? Going further west is clearly not a solution going by that so why not move them to another Canadian market that is looking for a team to show they can support one? Like Quebec or a border city in America or maybe even a second Toronto team in the AHL.

Someone in the Lounge also mentioned Brampton, they lost their team. Would an AHL team work there?
Quebec didn't work with the Citadelles. Maybe it was because they were affiliated with the hated Habs but Quebec City seems to do well with the Remparts.

Toronto/Brampton would not happen. AHL teams have territorial rights and even if MLSE would allow another team in the area, they would be affiliated with a non-Leafs team. The Marlies haven't even been that good of a draw until this season, another AHL team in the area would be worse than the Newmarket Saints.

Utica seems like a weird choice considering they were one of the worst drawing teams during the Devils days but I've heard good things (today) about how Utica College draws. There's really not a whole lot of options for AHL teams anymore besides retreads like Lowell and Des Moines who didn't draw well. Fort Wayne would be an interesting possibility but they've only been in the ECHL one year.

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02-24-2013, 07:10 PM
  #7
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Originally Posted by WolfKeeper View Post
Sweetheart deal for Calgary, not so much for Abbotsford. I wonder what's going on lately between the city and the team. The news wires have been quiet about it since an opinion piece mentioned they're up to owing the Heat 1.6 million in guarantee revenue.

Three failures in eight years. Maybe the AHL should take away the franchise rights.
Vlad, the only team that I remember that happening to was the Iowa Chops. As I am sure that you know, it is rare.

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02-24-2013, 08:48 PM
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This makes me so mad. For losing my WHL team (Chilliwack Bruins) in 2011 only to have the Heat relocate 2 years later (which ownership cites as the issue) is enfuriating to me.

So now, you're going to have 3 WHL ready rinks in Langley, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack that perhaps will have nothing better than the BCHL next year.

I can see the Canucks moving affiliation to Abbotsford, if feasible, or the WHL could come in to the Abbotsford market and serve Chilliwack, Abbotsford, and Langley (all a 20-25 min drive away)

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02-24-2013, 09:57 PM
  #9
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IMO Abbotsford would work well as a Canuck affiliate, but the current situation there with Calgary sucks. I am in Seattle and drive up to Abby (2 hour drive) for about 5-10 games per season and try to support them the best I can given my proximity; the AHL is the league that interests me the most since I enjoy following prospects on the cusp of the NHL. The AESC is usually empty, sadly. I sense the team has a real lack of visibility. Sometimes I will ask fans at Thunderbirds and Silvertips games here if they ever go up to see the Abbotsford Heat and usually get one of these responses:
1) Oh yeah, the Heat. What league is that, BCHL?
2) Abbotsford Heat? I've never heard of them.
3) Where's Abbotsford?

Also, I don't get where rumors about Wolves-to-Abbotsford are coming from. Chicago Wolves have some of the AHL's best fan support...

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02-24-2013, 10:10 PM
  #10
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Originally Posted by adsfan View Post
Vlad, the only team that I remember that happening to was the Iowa Chops. As I am sure that you know, it is rare.
For the league to revoke the franchise, the franchise would have to violate certain terms of the agreement with the league. In Iowa's case, the franchise borrowed money using the actual franchise (license to operate an AHL team) as collateral. The Flames/Heat have done nothing close to that. As long as they meet the terms of their agreement with the AHL, the franchise can't be revoked at the will of the league.

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02-25-2013, 12:07 AM
  #11
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http://www.calgaryherald.com/sports/...570/story.html

From the Flames side of the story
Quote:
Keep in mind: the Flames are in the third season of a 10-year agreement to operate the Heat out of the posh Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

“We have been approached by representatives in Utica concerning an opportunity for the AHL,” the Flames said in a written statement issued Sunday afternoon. “We understand they are building a case for the AHL to return there.

“We are under contract and committed to Abbotsford, and have made no alternate commitments.”
Sounds like Utica or a sugar daddy would have to pay the "break up" fees to Abbotsford to break the lease to move to Utica.

Or:

Quote:
Upon the news breaking of the possible Flames shifting to Utica, speculation erupted on Twitter over the possibility of the Canucks moving their farm team to Abbotsford from Chicago.


Last edited by LadyStanley: 02-25-2013 at 12:13 AM.
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02-25-2013, 12:53 AM
  #12
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The interesting thing to note here is that some Canucks brass were in Chicago the past few days to discuss the Wolves AHL relationship.

The issue is, that at the same time, the Heat were playing in Chicago.

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Old
02-25-2013, 07:23 AM
  #13
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Canucks in Chicago

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Originally Posted by go_leafs_go02 View Post
The interesting thing to note here is that some Canucks brass were in Chicago the past few days to discuss the Wolves AHL relationship.

The issue is, that at the same time, the Heat were playing in Chicago.
Don't believe this to be true as I just read a story from Chicago Tribune stating that Wolves management are frustrated as they don't know if Canucks are going to renew. So to say they were in Chicago together awhile back and have a story out yesterday stating frustration kinda debunks this.

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02-25-2013, 07:32 AM
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrimper View Post
If the team isn't attracting fans or doing well there then I can understand moving them, but Utica? Going further west is clearly not a solution going by that so why not move them to another Canadian market that is looking for a team to show they can support one? Like Quebec or a border city in America or maybe even a second Toronto team in the AHL.

Someone in the Lounge also mentioned Brampton, they lost their team. Would an AHL team work there?
The AHL board of Governors wants to expand in the west. As do the western NHL teams. In fact they were told last year to expedite team expansion / relocation to the western market. As each NHL team threatened to take their talent from AHL and put them in a western league for better development etc.
so likelihood of expansion in the Northwest is a future growth opportunity which the NHL clubs want.
Abbotsford was/is the 1st of the puzzle. A Canuck affiliated team in Abby would solidify that as its attendance would rocket to the top of the league. Which would empower AHL to continue the relocations west. But current situation isn't helping anyone.
Taxpayer, players or NHL clubs.

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02-25-2013, 08:34 AM
  #15
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Originally Posted by heatfan63 View Post
Don't believe this to be true as I just read a story from Chicago Tribune stating that Wolves management are frustrated as they don't know if Canucks are going to renew. So to say they were in Chicago together awhile back and have a story out yesterday stating frustration kinda debunks this.
The Canuck Brass was there Wednesday, after the Canucks game. There was meetings, and in an interview with MG, he stated they have a great relationship, although never stated anything about the Canucks staying in CHI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by heatfan63 View Post
The AHL board of Governors wants to expand in the west. As do the western NHL teams. In fact they were told last year to expedite team expansion / relocation to the western market. As each NHL team threatened to take their talent from AHL and put them in a western league for better development etc.
so likelihood of expansion in the Northwest is a future growth opportunity which the NHL clubs want.
Abbotsford was/is the 1st of the puzzle. A Canuck affiliated team in Abby would solidify that as its attendance would rocket to the top of the league. Which would empower AHL to continue the relocations west. But current situation isn't helping anyone.
Taxpayer, players or NHL clubs.
I agree with this... and it makes total sense IF the AHL does start to move out west. As right now Abby's travel schedule is terrible.

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02-25-2013, 10:38 AM
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The Canuck Brass was there Wednesday, after the Canucks game. There was meetings, and in an interview with MG, he stated they have a great relationship, although never stated anything about the Canucks staying in CHI.



I agree with this... and it makes total sense IF the AHL does start to move out west. As right now Abby's travel schedule is terrible.
I highly doubt they would ROCKET to the top of the AHL in attendance, especially since the building holds signifigantly less than others including Chicago and there are teams averaging more per game than that building even holds.

PEOPLE.......CAN WE GET A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE HERE PLEASE?????????? assuming that the rumors are true, it really means nothing.......you guys are forgetting 1 HUGE thing. If the flames move their club to utica it means nothing to the Chicago Wolves and their relationship with vancouver. There are 30 AHL teams and there are 30 franchises liscenses right now.....which one is vancouver going to buy? In order to "move' their prospects to abbotsford there has to be an AHL franchise available to purchase....No franchise......no move. they can't just up and move their players to abbotford without an AHL franchise being located there, unless they just want their guys to scrimmage each other for 76 games and then go golfing.

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02-25-2013, 10:41 AM
  #17
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Originally Posted by heatfan63 View Post
The AHL board of Governors wants to expand in the west. As do the western NHL teams. In fact they were told last year to expedite team expansion / relocation to the western market. As each NHL team threatened to take their talent from AHL and put them in a western league for better development etc.
so likelihood of expansion in the Northwest is a future growth opportunity which the NHL clubs want.
Abbotsford was/is the 1st of the puzzle. A Canuck affiliated team in Abby would solidify that as its attendance would rocket to the top of the league. Which would empower AHL to continue the relocations west. But current situation isn't helping anyone.
Taxpayer, players or NHL clubs.
You have proof of this where?

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02-25-2013, 10:45 AM
  #18
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It's been argued/rumored for at least a decade that (especially California) NHL teams have considered relocating their AHL franchises "closer" to their NHL parent.

Speaking for the Sharks and their franchise (owned by parent team, Kentucky, Ohio, and now Massachusetts), that one reason they selected New England was for the proximity to other teams (usually less than 2 hours travel time each way). This leads to lessened travel expenses AND sufficient time for practice.

Until and if other NHL western franchises **commit** to moving their franchises (lets say to Fresno, Reno, Portland OR, Seattle and/or Sacramento among the candidate cities) to get a reasonable grouping for bus travel, I just don't see it.

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02-25-2013, 10:47 AM
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People need to stop saying "...and then the Canucks can move the Wolves to Abbotsford". The Canucks do not own the Wolves. Don Levin does. So unless CSE buys the Wolves or another AHL franchise for that matter, the Canucks cannot simply move their affiliate to Abby.

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02-25-2013, 11:26 AM
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People need to stop saying "...and then the Canucks can move the Wolves to Abbotsford". The Canucks do not own the Wolves. Don Levin does. So unless CSE buys the Wolves or another AHL franchise for that matter, the Canucks cannot simply move their affiliate to Abby.
I do enjoy reading the so-called "experts" who write about the NHL pretend to know what they're talking about. Even corrected an NBC Pro Hockey Talk writer via Twitter who, for having a deep knowlege of the minor leagues, had zero knowledge of the Wolves, Abbotsford, Vancouver and how affiliations work.

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02-25-2013, 10:33 PM
  #21
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A Canuck affiliated team in Abby would solidify that as its attendance would rocket to the top of the league.
Ummm yeah, keep dreaming. They might crack the 4000 attendance mark with Van as their affiliate but that's a stretch judging by the fans' ambivalence.

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02-26-2013, 01:10 AM
  #22
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Reactions from the management team on the ground in Abbotsford:

http://www.abbotsfordtimes.com/news/...982/story.html
http://www.abbynews.com/news/192922041.html

Summary: "I don't know nothin' about no move. Flames haven't said 'boo' to us about anything, we're going on as normal."

I wouldn't put it past the Flames to leave their local partners totally out of the loop, as they've not shown themselves to be the best business partners in the past. But the more I look at this, the more it just doesn't "smell right", going on my experience from when I was still writing the Death Pool Report.

Might the Utica report be correct? Sure. But it also has a lot of hallmarks of "wishful thinking" on the part of a combination of the Utica officials who WANT it to happen, and maybe even a little on the part of the reporter -- I suspect that more than once that I over-emphasized one rumor or the other in the DPR days because one was a more interesting story or scenario to me, and I can completely see something like that having subconscious effect on the Utica reporter.

I'm in full "wait and see" mode.

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02-26-2013, 01:30 AM
  #23
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They have to sell tickets for the remainder of this year - so why say the team is on its way out now?

This is a rumour, a rumour that has legs. You'll see things ramp up in the next few weeks and months.

Go 20 min down the freeway to the east, go back in time 2 years, and I present to you the demise fiasco of the WHL Chilliwack Bruins.

http://gdrinnan.blogspot.ca/2011/04/...hronology.html
6 weeks from the rumours starting, to the Bruins disappearing. Fans were told season ticket renewal forms were at the print shop, as they started wondering what was going on, since it was early March.

The first chapter of the end of the Abbotsford Heat is just beginning.

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02-26-2013, 01:36 AM
  #24
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I wonder if a deal can be worked out where the Canucks and Flames simply agree to swap their AHL affiliations. In other words, Calgary gets the Wolves and Vancouver gets Abbotsford. Ideally, each franchise would have their minor league affiliates in close proximity. Ideally, the Chicago Wolves ought to be the affiliate of the Blackhawks. I must say, it is quite strange how this all works.

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02-26-2013, 01:51 AM
  #25
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Originally Posted by Sunking278 View Post
I wonder if a deal can be worked out where the Canucks and Flames simply agree to swap their AHL affiliations. In other words, Calgary gets the Wolves and Vancouver gets Abbotsford. Ideally, each franchise would have their minor league affiliates in close proximity. Ideally, the Chicago Wolves ought to be the affiliate of the Blackhawks. I must say, it is quite strange how this all works.
Well The Blackhawks already have Rockford, another Illinois team, so its not like theres a huge need to get the wolves

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