The Toronto Roadrunners have move to Edmonton
Link: Oilers E-mail
AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE COMES TO EDMONTON
The American Hockey League has approved a request by the Edmonton Oilers to move their AHL franchise from Toronto to Edmonton, effective immediately. The approval means professional hockey is guaranteed in Edmonton this year, as the Roadrunners will play this coming season at Rexall Place.
The move came after efforts to secure a home arena in Toronto were unsuccessful, and it became apparent the most logical alternative would be to move the team west to an established hockey market.
Oilers President Patrick LaForge says the relocation process of the AHL franchise is designed to be integrated with the Edmonton Oilers, in that the Roadrunners schedule will not conflict with the NHL schedule. Should there be a delay in the NHL season because of labour issues, there may be minor adjustments to the AHL schedule to accommodate more fans. LaForge adds Northlands Park has been exceptionally helpful in the process of ensuring two professional teams could be accommodated.
The General Manager of the Roadrunners, Scott Howson, says hockey fans in Western Canada are in for a treat when it comes to the calibre of play in the AHL. Howson, who is also Assistant General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers notes, “The level of play will surprise fans, as it is hockey played at the highest level outside the NHL. In addition to the calibre of play, there are the added bonuses of exciting differences to the game, including shootouts to determine winners, no-touch icing and variations on offside calls.”
LaForge says there are many positives to having the Oilers minor league team in the same building, and although there will be challenges ahead, the winners will be the hockey fans. The Oilers are already working on a plan, which would offer Oiler season ticket holders a preferential status with the Roadrunners should the NHL season be delayed. Details of the plan will be announced in early August.
So how does this effect the divisions and conferences? I hope that the leafs move into their spot, as it would be good to see Hamilton vs St Joh's on tv more often.
They'll remain in the North Division with Cleveland, Rochester, Syracuse, Manitoba, Hamilton and St. John's. The St. John's Maple Leaves err... Leafs were already in the North Divsion last season, were theyn not.