The Vancouver Canucks are shifting their AHL staff from Utica to Abbotsford, starting subsequent season.
Particulars of a partnership between the Canucks and the Metropolis of Abbotsford are being finalized, the staff mentioned, and relocation might be topic to AHL Board of Governors approval on Could 6 — however that’s basically a rubber stamp.
“With momentum beginning to construct, we’re happy to verify our purpose to deliver our AHL franchise and Canucks prospects house to the Metropolis of Abbotsford,” mentioned Canucks proprietor Francesco Aquilini in a media launch. “The transfer would deliver important alternatives for each our staff and the neighborhood and it will start a brand new chapter, bringing Canucks hockey to much more followers all through the Decrease Mainland.”
The staff would play out of the Abbotsford Centre, which might maintain 8,500 followers for hockey, and was house to the failed Abbotsford Warmth franchise from 2009 to 2014.
Two points that plagued the Warmth gained’t be an issue for a brand new franchise. First, the staff could be affiliated with the Canucks as an alternative of the rival Calgary Flames. Second, there are a lot of extra AHL groups situated on the west coast than earlier than.
The plan is for the staff to play within the AHL’s Pacific Division, which incorporates six groups in California.
A brand new identify, model, and emblem might be unveiled for the franchise, the Canucks revealed.
The Canucks have been affiliated with the Utica Comets since 2013. Utica is predicted to develop into the brand new AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils, provided that Comets president Robert Esche registered “Utica Devils” as a trademark.
An announcement from Comets President Robert Esche in response to the Vancouver Canucks’ latest announcement: pic.twitter.com/9lnBj9UA6b
— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) May 5, 2021
“We’re extraordinarily grateful for the excellent partnership and dealing relationship we’ve had with Robert Esche and the whole Utica Comets household,” mentioned Aquilini. “Since 2013, we’ve labored carefully to create a first-class hockey surroundings for our gamers and Utica’s nice followers. Utica has among the best, most energetic hockey environments in North America. We want Robert, his workers and the unimaginable Comets followers nothing however success sooner or later.”
Whereas Utica was properly located to restrict journey for the Comets, no different NHL staff had their AHL affiliate situated additional away from house than did the Canucks. The transfer follows a rising pattern throughout the NHL to have its AHL associates situated close by.
Canucks administration will be capable of view their prospects extra simply, as will followers, for that matter. Calling up gamers will also be carried out with extra ease, as it’s going to require only a fast drive on Freeway 1 as an alternative of a cross-continent flight.