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AHL West in 2015-16?

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Old
08-27-2014, 10:24 AM
  #226
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Originally Posted by BruinsSharks View Post
Renfroe wants to get the P-Bruins up to the Worcester/Marlboro area, preferably near the NE Sports Center (by the way, he is adding 2 more ice sheets to put the Sports Center up to 8). The Sharks practice at the SportsCenter quite a bit.

He is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and although the attendance would be lower than Providence it would be substantially better than the Sharks affiliate. If the Sharks have manageable losses each year, I would bet he would at least break even with the Bruins as the affiliate. Just the fact they would be competitive each year would help. With his money and the profitable company he owns I would guess some tax losses on the sports team are not a terrible thing.

As a 5 year Sharks season ticket holder I would love for the Bruins to come up to Worcester. Providence would likely get another team as they are a very solid minor league market.

I did not purchase Sharks season tickets this year as they didn't fire Roy Sommer and I can't imagine the front office spending much money on veterans in a lame duck season in Worcester.
The business interests of the new P-Bruins owner definitely give some weight to the idea of relocating to Worcester, but I can't help but feel like Providence is the better overall market (in terms of corporate sponsors, attendance, venue, etc.). This is pure uncut speculation...but what if Boston and/or Renfroe go in on an ECHL team and place it in Worcester?

I know the quality of hockey isn't the same, but could that be overcome by being affiliated (and heavily marketed) with the Bruins?

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08-27-2014, 11:17 AM
  #227
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Originally Posted by hkymnky View Post
The business interests of the new P-Bruins owner definitely give some weight to the idea of relocating to Worcester, but I can't help but feel like Providence is the better overall market (in terms of corporate sponsors, attendance, venue, etc.). This is pure uncut speculation...but what if Boston and/or Renfroe go in on an ECHL team and place it in Worcester?

I know the quality of hockey isn't the same, but could that be overcome by being affiliated (and heavily marketed) with the Bruins?
After being a rival of Providence for years(even off the ice since both cities had the honor of being #2 in New England) there's no way they could handle being Providence's "female dog" even with the Bruins name attached. Not to mention travel would be expensive considering there's no ECHL teams even located in New England.

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08-27-2014, 01:23 PM
  #228
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Let's see... do I really want to throw the "rumored 4 expansion NHL teams" issue into the mix?

Maybe? But I have to believe that rumor first. It's hard.
So we've got: NHL Expansion for 4 teams, AHL West, and an ECHL/CHL merger. Any other rumors we should throw in there just to mix things up?

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08-28-2014, 01:18 PM
  #229
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AHL West in 2015-16?

I have heard nothing locally which indicates that the Oilers are not satisfied with the OKC arrangement. For on thing, there is excellent air travel service between OKC and Edmonton. Flights are available which enables a player to leave (going either way) in the morning and arrive in time to play in a game that night. The off ice operations is run by Prodigal Productions which is owned by Bob Funk JR. Based on the attendance, it looks like that this has a money losing proposition during the first 4 seasons. The agreement ends with the 2014-2015 season. If agreement is not renewed, I think it is more likely a matter of Funk wanting out as opposed to the Oilers wanting to move the team. I had concluded that it is very likely that 2014-2015 could be the last season. However, the Barons recently announced a new Jersey; so maybe their demise not as certain as I had thought. In my view, Funk JR made a couple of mistakes. The most serious was his failure to continue the Blazer name which was used by the CHL team. In so during, he lost a considerable amount of the fan base. Also, the ticket price structure was to high for the arena's lower bowel. I believe this has been corrected for the 2014-2015 season.

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08-28-2014, 01:31 PM
  #230
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I have heard nothing locally which indicates that the Oilers are not satisfied with the OKC arrangement. For on thing, there is excellent air travel service between OKC and Edmonton. Flights are available which enables a player to leave (going either way) in the morning and arrive in time to play in a game that night. The off ice operations is run by Prodigal Productions which is owned by Bob Funk JR. Based on the attendance, it looks like that this has a money losing proposition during the first 4 seasons. The agreement ends with the 2014-2015 season. If agreement is not renewed, I think it is more likely a matter of Funk wanting out as opposed to the Oilers wanting to move the team. I had concluded that it is very likely that 2014-2015 could be the last season. However, the Barons recently announced a new Jersey; so maybe their demise not as certain as I had thought. In my view, Funk JR made a couple of mistakes. The most serious was his failure to continue the Blazer name which was used by the CHL team. In so during, he lost a considerable amount of the fan base. Also, the ticket price structure was to high for the arena's lower bowel. I believe this has been corrected for the 2014-2015 season.
The one big thing that really convinced me that the Barons are leaving was the announcement that the Thunder are moving their D-League team from Tulsa to Oklahoma City and their going to play at the Cox Center. It seems to me at least if they were interested in keeping them there that would be doing whatever they could to boost fan support not decrease it by adding more competition.

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08-28-2014, 04:11 PM
  #231
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I have heard nothing locally which indicates that the Oilers are not satisfied with the OKC arrangement. For on thing, there is excellent air travel service between OKC and Edmonton. Flights are available which enables a player to leave (going either way) in the morning and arrive in time to play in a game that night. The off ice operations is run by Prodigal Productions which is owned by Bob Funk JR. Based on the attendance, it looks like that this has a money losing proposition during the first 4 seasons. The agreement ends with the 2014-2015 season. If agreement is not renewed, I think it is more likely a matter of Funk wanting out as opposed to the Oilers wanting to move the team. I had concluded that it is very likely that 2014-2015 could be the last season. However, the Barons recently announced a new Jersey; so maybe their demise not as certain as I had thought. In my view, Funk JR made a couple of mistakes. The most serious was his failure to continue the Blazer name which was used by the CHL team. In so during, he lost a considerable amount of the fan base. Also, the ticket price structure was to high for the arena's lower bowel. I believe this has been corrected for the 2014-2015 season.
The attendance is a nightmare in OKC right now - it wouldn't support an ECHL team. Yes, there have been clear missteps with the name change and a few other issues, but they've also been dinged by the NBA coming to town. Regardless of why, it's just a matter of how long Edmonton is willing to lose money there. They can double the attendance just by moving the team to Bakersfield and have many direct flights from LAX (115 mile drive from Bakersfield) available for call-ups. Not to mention that they would be within driving distance of three Western Conference teams (LA, San Jose, and Anaheim) along with having direct flights from Bakersfield to Denver and Phoenix. That means that call-ups would be close for the teams that they play against the most. I feel bad for OKC because it used to be such a strong market when it was in the CHL, but something has happened there. I don't know if it's mismanagement or just bad luck, but I just can't see them staying in the AHL, even if the Barons don't move to Bakersfield....3,300 fans just isn't enough to support a team.

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08-28-2014, 05:33 PM
  #232
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The attendance is a nightmare in OKC right now - it wouldn't support an ECHL team. Yes, there have been clear missteps with the name change and a few other issues, but they've also been dinged by the NBA coming to town. Regardless of why, it's just a matter of how long Edmonton is willing to lose money there. They can double the attendance just by moving the team to Bakersfield and have many direct flights from LAX (115 mile drive from Bakersfield) available for call-ups. Not to mention that they would be within driving distance of three Western Conference teams (LA, San Jose, and Anaheim) along with having direct flights from Bakersfield to Denver and Phoenix. That means that call-ups would be close for the teams that they play against the most. I feel bad for OKC because it used to be such a strong market when it was in the CHL, but something has happened there. I don't know if it's mismanagement or just bad luck, but I just can't see them staying in the AHL, even if the Barons don't move to Bakersfield....3,300 fans just isn't enough to support a team.
I think you are wrong. The attendance in the lower league in OKC was higher than it is now.

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08-28-2014, 06:09 PM
  #233
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I think you are wrong. The attendance in the lower league in OKC was higher than it is now.
That was my point when I said it used to have such strong support. I just don't see it staying an AHL city with the lack of support that it's got. Maybe the attendance rebounds, maybe it doesn't if they drop to the AHL. Could they make it in the ECHL? Maybe. They'd be 4th from last in the ECHL in attendance (ahead of Kalamazoo, Elmira, and Wheeling), so it's by no means a slam dunk.

Look at the attendance over the years:

2006-07: 8,902 (Blazers)
2007-08: 8,713 (Blazers)
2008-09: 6,508 (Blazers)*
2009-10: N/A
2010-11: 4,155 (Barons)
2011-12: 3,684 (Barons)
2012-13: 3,527 (Barons)
2013-14: 3,348 (Barons)

See a trend? I don't think that the issue is just a goof on lower bowl ticket prices the last year or so.

*this is the year the OKC Thunder came to town...


Last edited by Hoodaha: 08-28-2014 at 06:19 PM.
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08-29-2014, 11:28 AM
  #234
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AHL West n 2015-16?

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The one big thing that really convinced me that the Barons are leaving was the announcement that the Thunder are moving their D-League team from Tulsa to Oklahoma City and their going to play at the Cox Center. It seems to me at least if they were interested in keeping them there that would be doing whatever they could to boost fan support not decrease it by adding more competition.
The Thunder was unable to renew the lease for the arena where the D-League played in Tulsa. They wanted to remain in Tulsa but were unable to find another suitable arena. It had nothing to do with the status of the Barons.

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08-29-2014, 11:57 AM
  #235
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The Thunder was unable to renew the lease for the arena where the D-League played in Tulsa. They wanted to remain in Tulsa but were unable to find another suitable arena. It had nothing to do with the status of the Barons.
I understand that they are totally different situations, but you can't deny it doesn't affect them. With dwindling attendance and only averaging 1,500 for the playoffs, the team in the last year of their lease, and Edmonton buying Bakersfield already hanging over there head the last thing this team needs if it's to survive there is to have to compete for fans and open dates with the Thunder's D-League team. It might be nothing but theirs only so many things you explain away before it becomes fact.

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08-29-2014, 12:45 PM
  #236
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I understand that they are totally different situations, but you can't deny it doesn't affect them. With dwindling attendance and only averaging 1,500 for the playoffs, the team in the last year of their lease, and Edmonton buying Bakersfield already hanging over there head the last thing this team needs if it's to survive there is to have to compete for fans and open dates with the Thunder's D-League team. It might be nothing but theirs only so many things you explain away before it becomes fact.
To me, it's Edmonton buying Bakersfield right before rumors start spreading that the AHL wants a mainly California Western division. Which AHL teams are OKC close to? Can they bus anywhere? I guess they could take a 6 hour ride to Austin and then go to San Antonio, but that's about it, right? If AHL west happens, Bakersfield, Ontario, San Diego (if Anaheim rumors are true), and wherever San Jose parks their team (Stockton/Fresno?) will all be 4 hours or less from Bakersfield.

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08-29-2014, 12:51 PM
  #237
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The Thunder was unable to renew the lease for the arena where the D-League played in Tulsa. They wanted to remain in Tulsa but were unable to find another suitable arena. It had nothing to do with the status of the Barons.
Agree, though I do think that there is a point to be made that increased competition doesn't help the Barons who have a downward trend in attendance.

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08-29-2014, 10:00 PM
  #238
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AHL West in 2015-16?

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The attendance is a nightmare in OKC right now - it wouldn't support an ECHL team. Yes, there have been clear missteps with the name change and a few other issues, but they've also been dinged by the NBA coming to town. Regardless of why, it's just a matter of how long Edmonton is willing to lose money there. They can double the attendance just by moving the team to Bakersfield and have many direct flights from LAX (115 mile drive from Bakersfield) available for call-ups. Not to mention that they would be within driving distance of three Western Conference teams (LA, San Jose, and Anaheim) along with having direct flights from Bakersfield to Denver and Phoenix. That means that call-ups would be close for the teams that they play against the most. I feel bad for OKC because it used to be such a strong market when it was in the CHL, but something has happened there. I don't know if it's mismanagement or just bad luck, but I just can't see them staying in the AHL, even if the Barons don't move to Bakersfield....3,300 fans just isn't enough to support a team.
I probably did not fully describe the business arrangement between Prodigal (Bob Funk JR's company) and the Oilers. Prodigal not only manages the off ice operations, but it receives the revenue and has the liability for off ice expenses. For example, the arena lease is between Prodigal (instead of the Oilers) and OKC. Funk JR was asked about the Barons financial situation during a recent press interview, and he commented "the losses are on me". The Thunder did have an some effect on attendance, but I do not believe that is the primary problem. The Blazer's primary fan base was, for the lack of a better term, blue collar income people. Funk JR focused on bringing in a higher income crowd. I have talked to numerous people that attended Blazer games who have no identification with the Barons. During the above cited interview, Funk JR admitted that he now understands that he had made public relations mistakes. It looks like that he is trying to do some catching up, but it is probably too little too late. I recently learned that a former Blazer player has purchased the Blazer brand and is starting a Junior A team this fall.

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09-06-2014, 12:45 AM
  #239
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http://www.telegram.com/article/2014...309059663/1009

Sharks "desire" is to move AHL franchise west, perhaps in 2015 as there is an out clause in lease (economic benchmarks not met). But AHL wants 4+ teams to move west to form division.

BOG meeting later this month, so there could be some news.

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09-06-2014, 11:57 AM
  #240
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Well, Winnipeg won't be an inaugural member of the Westward movement, they extended their agreement through the 2015-16 season.

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@TheAHL: The @NHLJets and @IceCapsAHL have extended their affiliation agreement for an additional season
http://theahl.com/jets-icecaps-exten...iation-p193494

Not that the rumored landing spot of Thunder Bay, Ontario was beneficial to the Pacific Coast expansion, but it certainly would be much closer to other AHL teams than St. John's.

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09-06-2014, 01:40 PM
  #241
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http://www.telegram.com/article/2014...309059663/1009

Sharks "desire" is to move AHL franchise west, perhaps in 2015 as there is an out clause in lease (economic benchmarks not met). But AHL wants 4+ teams to move west to form division.

BOG meeting later this month, so there could be some news.
Experience has taught me that making that announcement now (which I'm surprised actually happened BEFORE the season) salts the arena. If you're looking for an attendance uptick in Worcester, that's not the way to do it.

The Sharks really want out.

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09-06-2014, 01:56 PM
  #242
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Experience has taught me that making that announcement now (which I'm surprised actually happened BEFORE the season) salts the arena. If you're looking for an attendance uptick in Worcester, that's not the way to do it.

The Sharks really want out.
I can see the Providence owner getting a ECHL franchise for Worcester and making it a Bruins team.

Manchester is too good of a market for the AHL to lose.

There are so many pieces to this puzzle. What is Montreal going to do when the new arena in Laval is completed?

This is a good read on the subject

http://prohockeynews.com/geometry-co...y-realignment/

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09-06-2014, 06:39 PM
  #243
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This was certainly one of the better articles to come out about the prospects of a west coast division in the AHL… It also goes to what I’ve been saying this whole time about this being a done deal. While I think it’s inevitable that the league will have a west coast division it’s by no means a sure thing and I think it’s in a precarious stage at best of either becoming a reality or completely falling apart meaning those west coast teams either have to find an alternate plan or make changes to the CBA.

Gustafson really didn’t hide anything while talking with Ballou. There are several quotes that really confirmed where this process is at presently.

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"Our desire, much like everyone else on the West Coast," said Gustafson, "is to move our minor league operations out west and have the same amenities and advantages as our brethren back east.”
That’s code for we want the same salary cap advantages and ability to brand like the eastern teams. That’s the only reason they want to move closer their NHL. It has nothing with being able to call up a player and save on travel time because most teams have scouts in this part of the region anyway.

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We'll work with the AHL and our partners toward that and see where it lands.
That’s certainly not a vote of confidence for a west coast division anytime soon… It sounds like a lot of moving pieces need to fall in place first… see next series of quotes.

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"Nothing has been finalized, and we're continuing talks with (AHL president) Dave Andrews."
To continue from my previous thought: A lot of pieces need to fall into place and at the end of the day nothing is locked down. The biggest issue is finding at least two franchises for sale. As I’ve written in the past and as I continue to hear from my sources is there are no franchises available at the moment. Those owners that were willing to sell had their franchises priced at an extreme amount and when those prices weren’t met they’ve opted to pull the franchises off the market. We know that San Jose and Los Angeles are in position to move immediately, but that’s it. Vancouver and Calgary, who own its own franchises, are locked into situations for at least a couple seasons. Edmonton, who owns ECHL’s Bakersfield and its own AHL franchise, could decide to be a part of west coast division, but, Anaheim, Phoenix and Colorado are still on the outside looking in.

Quote:
The move west hinges upon the AHL's ability to form at least a four-team division out there. Anything less, and there are no relocations.

"This will all play out," Gustafson said. "If the West Coast (relocation) doesn't take place, then nothing has changed."
That right there is this whole process in a nutshell…

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09-08-2014, 10:57 AM
  #244
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To continue from my previous thought: A lot of pieces need to fall into place and at the end of the day nothing is locked down. The biggest issue is finding at least two franchises for sale. As I’ve written in the past and as I continue to hear from my sources is there are no franchises available at the moment. Those owners that were willing to sell had their franchises priced at an extreme amount and when those prices weren’t met they’ve opted to pull the franchises off the market. We know that San Jose and Los Angeles are in position to move immediately, but that’s it. Vancouver and Calgary, who own its own franchises, are locked into situations for at least a couple seasons. Edmonton, who owns ECHL’s Bakersfield and its own AHL franchise, could decide to be a part of west coast division, but, Anaheim, Phoenix and Colorado are still on the outside looking in.
One has to wonder with NHL expansion (possibly) on the horizon in the relative near future, if the AHL might just say here are two new franchises, then sell them off to two of Anaheim/Phoenix/Colorado. Then they'd just let the new expansion NHL teams figure out their AHL situation down the road (either by affiliating with the odd-man out East coast teams, or buying existing franchises). It'd certainly make the Westward move much easier to orchestrate if the NHL teams really want it.

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09-08-2014, 02:15 PM
  #245
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One has to wonder with NHL expansion (possibly) on the horizon in the relative near future, if the AHL might just say here are two new franchises, then sell them off to two of Anaheim/Phoenix/Colorado. Then they'd just let the new expansion NHL teams figure out their AHL situation down the road (either by affiliating with the odd-man out East coast teams, or buying existing franchises). It'd certainly make the Westward move much easier to orchestrate if the NHL teams really want it.
I doubt that Andrews is going to just float out 2 franchises on the hope and the possibility that the NHL expands at some point. Bettman has come out and said NHL expansion isn't on the table right now and that they would entertain thoughts of it if and when it became viable. Meaning that they will expand at some point, but I can't see the AHL allowing 2 franchises to float out there for an indefinite time and breaching their 30 for 30 mantra.

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09-08-2014, 03:22 PM
  #246
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I doubt that Andrews is going to just float out 2 franchises on the hope and the possibility that the NHL expands at some point. Bettman has come out and said NHL expansion isn't on the table right now and that they would entertain thoughts of it if and when it became viable. Meaning that they will expand at some point, but I can't see the AHL allowing 2 franchises to float out there for an indefinite time and breaching their 30 for 30 mantra.
They only reason they'd do it is if the NHL told them that it was a sure thing. What is happening and what Bettman is saying publically are clearly two different things.

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09-08-2014, 05:39 PM
  #247
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I doubt that Andrews is going to just float out 2 franchises on the hope and the possibility that the NHL expands at some point. Bettman has come out and said NHL expansion isn't on the table right now and that they would entertain thoughts of it if and when it became viable. Meaning that they will expand at some point, but I can't see the AHL allowing 2 franchises to float out there for an indefinite time and breaching their 30 for 30 mantra.
The only thing Andrews floats is his own boat....

If they did this then there would be two teams the AHL would force to be independent. I doubt the AHL would cover all the losses for the teams that are forced to be without an NHL affiliate.

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They only reason they'd do it is if the NHL told them that it was a sure thing. What is happening and what Bettman is saying publicly are clearly two different things.
Both Bettman and Andrews tell BS to the press but the AHL will not expand before the NHL does. Even if it was a sure thing the question is when the teams be in play. Definitely not for 14-15. 15-16? Maybe but my guess is they will wait until the Arizona and Florida situations are resolved. Arizona will not be resolved for four more years.

MY guess is AZ and FL move and the NHL adds two more teams. AZ moves to Seattle, FL moves to Quebec and the NHL adds a team in KC and Toronto.

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09-08-2014, 06:13 PM
  #248
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Both Bettman and Andrews tell BS to the press but the AHL will not expand before the NHL does. Even if it was a sure thing the question is when the teams be in play. Definitely not for 14-15. 15-16? Maybe but my guess is they will wait until the Arizona and Florida situations are resolved. Arizona will not be resolved for four more years.
The rumor about the AHL west is for 2015-16. Vegas' building happens to open (if it's on schedule) before that season. You can make assumptions about Arizona and Florida moving, but expansion is going to come, and probably sooner than later. I don't think it'll be 4 teams, but it'll happen.

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09-09-2014, 12:12 AM
  #249
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I have yet to be convinced that NHL expansion any time in the next DECADE is anything other than the creation of OCD people who can't handle uneven divisions, frankly.

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09-09-2014, 10:59 AM
  #250
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I have yet to be convinced that NHL expansion any time in the next DECADE is anything other than the creation of OCD people who can't handle uneven divisions, frankly.
I think that the NHL expansion will happen in 4 years when AZ leaves. Then the AHL will expand that same year.

Until then, the whole AHL expansion is just ridiculous.

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