AHL to expand to the West? New Minor Hockey league on Horizon?

AHL to expand to the West? New Minor Hockey league on Horizon?

Joined: March 4th, 2005, 12:08 am

October 27th, 2011, 9:11 pm #1

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=379050


Sources tell TSN several NHL western conference teams are involved in ongoing discussions to improve the geographic challenges some teams face in trying to develop their players from afar.

Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose, Phoenix, Colorado, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary attended a private meeting with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly earlier this month, where the group conceptually talked about the introduction of a western wing to the American Hockey League to ease the burden of travel on prospect players, as well as provide NHL teams with a more hands on approach in day to day development.

Most in that group are content with their existing AHL partnerships; however, there are some who who like to see change and are considering a more extreme approach if necessary.

The possibility of creating an entirely new league primarily based to serve some of the NHL's pacific and northwest division teams has also been suggested by some involved.

Sources say the main group intends to hire outside counsel to thoroughly investigate all existing partnership agreements and building lease commitments with existing AHL affiliates to get a clear view of how realistic such a drastic move is, within the next 2-3 years.

American Hockey League president and CEO, David Andrews, tells TSN he is aware of the ongoing discussions that have taken place at the NHL level and says he has made it clear he is willing to work to create a true western division and help facilitate such a move.

Although the AHL has trimmed its schedule from 80 games to 76 this season to eliminate the instances where teams were burdened by playing four games in five days, the view of the NHL clubs most interested in change, or intrigued by the concept of starting a new league; is based on the belief that their players aren't being properly developed because of the American Hockey League grind, limited practice schedules, and the fact most of the farm teams are thousands of kilometres away from their NHL cities as illustrated below.

Syracuse, NY to Anaheim --- 3,745km
Machester, NH to Los Angeles --- 4,143km
Worcester, Mass to San Jose --- 4,263km
Portland, Maine to Phoenix --- 3,773km
Cleveland to Denver --- 1,974km

While the National Hockey League is sensitive to the concerns of their western based teams, the league also feels a deep sense of loyalty to the American Hockey League and recognizes, like each NHL partner, the AHL is operating a business and has certain scheduling necessities to ensure operating costs are covered.

It should also be noted, most NHL teams remain firmly in support of the American Hockey League and don't want to be part of either a public or private campaign that may poison their relationships with their AHL partners.

Some involved in the process remain highly skeptical a new league will spawn from the latest round of discussions, primarily because of the enormous expense required to start up what would have to be a minimum 5 or 6 team loop. The more practical and likely solution is the introduction of a true western division...more geographically friendly for the clubs most impacted by the existing issues.

While this latest attempt to improve affiliate conditions may be far more extreme, in terms of the potential of an entirely new league, the idea of an AHL western division was originally introduced by Brian Burke during his time as general manager of the Anaheim Ducks.

Burke's push was fueled by the logistical hurdles his players had to endure to get to Anaheim from Portland, Maine, which included all day travel.

Burke's effort to garner enough support to urge the AHL to reshape its divisions and affiliate cities fizzled, but issues remain and the quest to find a solution has once again become a priority.
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Joined: January 20th, 2008, 8:25 am

October 27th, 2011, 11:06 pm #2

Apparently the reason Abbotsford was awarded an AHL franchise was because there were rumblings of several other West Coast cities that were going to get a relocated AHL franchise. It's long overdue, having teams on the West Coast. Since the IHL folded there haven't been any Minor Pro hockey on the West Coast except for a few ECHL teams.
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Joined: June 26th, 2004, 8:43 pm

October 28th, 2011, 3:01 am #3

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=379050


Sources tell TSN several NHL western conference teams are involved in ongoing discussions to improve the geographic challenges some teams face in trying to develop their players from afar.

Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose, Phoenix, Colorado, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary attended a private meeting with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly earlier this month, where the group conceptually talked about the introduction of a western wing to the American Hockey League to ease the burden of travel on prospect players, as well as provide NHL teams with a more hands on approach in day to day development.

Most in that group are content with their existing AHL partnerships; however, there are some who who like to see change and are considering a more extreme approach if necessary.

The possibility of creating an entirely new league primarily based to serve some of the NHL's pacific and northwest division teams has also been suggested by some involved.

Sources say the main group intends to hire outside counsel to thoroughly investigate all existing partnership agreements and building lease commitments with existing AHL affiliates to get a clear view of how realistic such a drastic move is, within the next 2-3 years.

American Hockey League president and CEO, David Andrews, tells TSN he is aware of the ongoing discussions that have taken place at the NHL level and says he has made it clear he is willing to work to create a true western division and help facilitate such a move.

Although the AHL has trimmed its schedule from 80 games to 76 this season to eliminate the instances where teams were burdened by playing four games in five days, the view of the NHL clubs most interested in change, or intrigued by the concept of starting a new league; is based on the belief that their players aren't being properly developed because of the American Hockey League grind, limited practice schedules, and the fact most of the farm teams are thousands of kilometres away from their NHL cities as illustrated below.

Syracuse, NY to Anaheim --- 3,745km
Machester, NH to Los Angeles --- 4,143km
Worcester, Mass to San Jose --- 4,263km
Portland, Maine to Phoenix --- 3,773km
Cleveland to Denver --- 1,974km

While the National Hockey League is sensitive to the concerns of their western based teams, the league also feels a deep sense of loyalty to the American Hockey League and recognizes, like each NHL partner, the AHL is operating a business and has certain scheduling necessities to ensure operating costs are covered.

It should also be noted, most NHL teams remain firmly in support of the American Hockey League and don't want to be part of either a public or private campaign that may poison their relationships with their AHL partners.

Some involved in the process remain highly skeptical a new league will spawn from the latest round of discussions, primarily because of the enormous expense required to start up what would have to be a minimum 5 or 6 team loop. The more practical and likely solution is the introduction of a true western division...more geographically friendly for the clubs most impacted by the existing issues.

While this latest attempt to improve affiliate conditions may be far more extreme, in terms of the potential of an entirely new league, the idea of an AHL western division was originally introduced by Brian Burke during his time as general manager of the Anaheim Ducks.

Burke's push was fueled by the logistical hurdles his players had to endure to get to Anaheim from Portland, Maine, which included all day travel.

Burke's effort to garner enough support to urge the AHL to reshape its divisions and affiliate cities fizzled, but issues remain and the quest to find a solution has once again become a priority.
They want to start a new league or AHL western expansion during THIS economy? Good luck. I think during these times, hockey at any level is off the radar in most U.S. areas. As for Canada, we've seen the response (or lack thereof) in Abbotsford. I'd like to know who the ill-advised investors in this venture would be. And as much as the NHL teams would like it, I have big doubts that many (any?) would be in a hurry to throw their money behind it.

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Joined: January 20th, 2008, 8:25 am

October 28th, 2011, 3:31 am #4

The poor attendance in Abby has little to do with the on ice product & more of who the farm team belongs to. I think almost any other team besides the Canucks rivals would have better attendance than the Heat, but I am a Heat fan, go to a lot of games & support them 100%. I could care less about the No Hit League & bringing in Ryan Walter was an excellent decision.

As for either expansion or relocation, I do believe it will happen in the next 2 years. AHL teams are always on the move, & switching farm teams but there is an untapped market along the West Coast & like I said, the defunct IHL had many teams on the West Coast & across the Mid West. (Phoenix, San Antonio, Las Vegas, San Fransico, Utah, Denver) Sure the economy is terrible, but that's why moving teams to the West makes sense as the NHL teams will save money on travel costs as long as a few teams move West, not just one.
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Joined: November 17th, 2008, 5:38 pm

October 28th, 2011, 6:47 pm #5

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=379050


Sources tell TSN several NHL western conference teams are involved in ongoing discussions to improve the geographic challenges some teams face in trying to develop their players from afar.

Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose, Phoenix, Colorado, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary attended a private meeting with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly earlier this month, where the group conceptually talked about the introduction of a western wing to the American Hockey League to ease the burden of travel on prospect players, as well as provide NHL teams with a more hands on approach in day to day development.

Most in that group are content with their existing AHL partnerships; however, there are some who who like to see change and are considering a more extreme approach if necessary.

The possibility of creating an entirely new league primarily based to serve some of the NHL's pacific and northwest division teams has also been suggested by some involved.

Sources say the main group intends to hire outside counsel to thoroughly investigate all existing partnership agreements and building lease commitments with existing AHL affiliates to get a clear view of how realistic such a drastic move is, within the next 2-3 years.

American Hockey League president and CEO, David Andrews, tells TSN he is aware of the ongoing discussions that have taken place at the NHL level and says he has made it clear he is willing to work to create a true western division and help facilitate such a move.

Although the AHL has trimmed its schedule from 80 games to 76 this season to eliminate the instances where teams were burdened by playing four games in five days, the view of the NHL clubs most interested in change, or intrigued by the concept of starting a new league; is based on the belief that their players aren't being properly developed because of the American Hockey League grind, limited practice schedules, and the fact most of the farm teams are thousands of kilometres away from their NHL cities as illustrated below.

Syracuse, NY to Anaheim --- 3,745km
Machester, NH to Los Angeles --- 4,143km
Worcester, Mass to San Jose --- 4,263km
Portland, Maine to Phoenix --- 3,773km
Cleveland to Denver --- 1,974km

While the National Hockey League is sensitive to the concerns of their western based teams, the league also feels a deep sense of loyalty to the American Hockey League and recognizes, like each NHL partner, the AHL is operating a business and has certain scheduling necessities to ensure operating costs are covered.

It should also be noted, most NHL teams remain firmly in support of the American Hockey League and don't want to be part of either a public or private campaign that may poison their relationships with their AHL partners.

Some involved in the process remain highly skeptical a new league will spawn from the latest round of discussions, primarily because of the enormous expense required to start up what would have to be a minimum 5 or 6 team loop. The more practical and likely solution is the introduction of a true western division...more geographically friendly for the clubs most impacted by the existing issues.

While this latest attempt to improve affiliate conditions may be far more extreme, in terms of the potential of an entirely new league, the idea of an AHL western division was originally introduced by Brian Burke during his time as general manager of the Anaheim Ducks.

Burke's push was fueled by the logistical hurdles his players had to endure to get to Anaheim from Portland, Maine, which included all day travel.

Burke's effort to garner enough support to urge the AHL to reshape its divisions and affiliate cities fizzled, but issues remain and the quest to find a solution has once again become a priority.
one day Robison says Chilliwack is not moving , and the next day they are gone to Victoria.
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Joined: October 29th, 2011, 5:36 am

October 29th, 2011, 5:36 am #6

Hit the nail on the head. The Dub powers were frightened to death that the A would come to Victoria (think of what business the Canucks' affiliate would do) and acted sooner rather than later. Some of the better attended E franchises (Ontario, Stockton, maybe Boise, even Alaska) would have made logical choices for the Western Division too. I'm really enjoying the return of the WHL (and with crowds averaging 6,000, a junior bus league makes good economic sense) but there is a group of bitter ECHL fans who think we should have held out for the A.
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Joined: October 9th, 2006, 1:50 am

October 29th, 2011, 12:13 pm #7

one day Robison says Chilliwack is not moving , and the next day they are gone to Victoria.
He said Chilliwack wasn't moving when in actuality the team had been sold for 2 months

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Joined: March 27th, 2006, 7:19 pm

October 30th, 2011, 5:39 pm #8

Hit the nail on the head. The Dub powers were frightened to death that the A would come to Victoria (think of what business the Canucks' affiliate would do) and acted sooner rather than later. Some of the better attended E franchises (Ontario, Stockton, maybe Boise, even Alaska) would have made logical choices for the Western Division too. I'm really enjoying the return of the WHL (and with crowds averaging 6,000, a junior bus league makes good economic sense) but there is a group of bitter ECHL fans who think we should have held out for the A.
The Dub is the right fit for Victoria.
I know of a few of those ECHL whinners who wanted the 'A'. One in perticuler who was putting it all over the AHL and Manitoba Moose message boards that there should be no dub return to Victoria(funny he's been at every Royals game so far). Bottom line is, the ECHL was like watching paint dry and the ECHL was only in Victoria until a dub team become available.
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