Friday, 6 March 2015

AHL Deals

I have said this over and over, but I am against these constant moves that seem to happen annually in the AHL. The rumblings from True North Sports and Entertainment about moving the IceCaps west to Thunder Bay have slowed with no ground broken on the new arena in Thunder Bay, but it seems that the agreement between Danny Williams and True North will end this summer. The IceCaps will reportedly move to Winnipeg for the 2015-16 season while True North looks for suitable accommodations for their AHL franchise, and they will resurrect the Manitoba Moose name for the upcoming season!

Personally, I dislike the move out of St. John's with the IceCaps having sold out virtually every game since arriving at Mile One Arena, but the Jets are calling the shots with their AHL franchise. They want to have the franchise closer for call-ups, and I understand this proximity argument. It makes sense.

Winnipeg, though, isn't Toronto or Chicago in terms of population, so getting 8000 people out to see the baby Jets might be tougher than True North imagines. Entertainment dollars aren't abundant in the blue-collar city with the NHL back in town, so it will be an interesting experiment. With True North controlling nights at MTS Centre, there should be hockey every weekend at the arena next winter.

Filling the seats, however, might not be that difficult as the Jets have an extensive waiting list for NHL season tickets. Would those fans be willing to buy season tickets for the Moose? We'll have to see. Personally, I almost want to watch the AHL squad more than the NHL squad due to costs, and there may be other people who feel the same way if the Moose are marketed as an affordable alternative for families who can't afford to spend $500 to see a Jets game.

A lot of people might be saying, "Teebz, where are you pulling this information from?" and I totally get that stance. After all, nothing has been announced by anyone about the IceCaps leaving Newfoundland nor have the Jets uttered a word. I will tell you that I'm not speculating as a source with the team has stated that the Jets will move the IceCaps to Winnipeg if Danny Williams can bring another AHL team to the Rock, and the source has confirmed that negotiations with another AHL team "are nearly complete".

I can't say much else and I'm not going to go into any sort of detail, but it appears the Moose will be back next season if everything plays out as it appear it will. That's two more franchises on the move for the AHL who haven't had any sort of franchise stability for some time.

Get your bank accounts ready, Winnipeggers. The Moose will be back, and it will cost a few extra bucks compared to last time. The only difference is we get to see Winnipeg's prospects rather than Vancouver's prospects. Ehlers, Petan, Lemieux, Kosmachuk, Morrissey, Hellebuyck - they're coming to Winnipeg sooner than we may have thought!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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