John Shannon of Sportsnet reports some National Hockey League teams are looking at the possibility of playing exhibition games against their minor league affiliates since there won’t be a preseason in a shortened season. He says the new collective bargaining agreement would have to permit this for the games to happen.
Have been told some teams are toying with having practice games vs AHL teams, if CBA allows, and open to the fans.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) January 9, 2013
It wouldn’t be difficult at all for the Vancouver Canucks to schedule an exhibition game against their affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. The Wolves are in Abbotsford this Friday and Saturday to take on the Heat and do not play again until Wednesday, January 16. With camps opening on Sunday, Monday is a possible date for a matchup between the two.
However, Canucks assistant general manager Lawrence Gilman told the Vancouver Sun’s Brad Ziemer this is not something the team has discussed.
Assistant GM Laurence Gilman says possible ‘pre-season’ game with Chicago Wolves has not been discussed. #Canucks
— Brad Ziemer (@BradZiemer) January 9, 2013
Minor league goaltender Mike McKenna with the Peoria Rivermen didn’t think this idea would “fly” with the Professional Hockey Players Association, the union representing minor league players in the AHL and ECHL.
— Mike McKenna (@MikeMcKenna56) January 9, 2013
A much more likely candidate might be the UBC Thunderbirds whom locked out Canucks players have skated with throughout the labour dispute. Defenceman Kevin Bieksa also organized his “Bieksa’s Buddies Charity Game” which pitted a group of his Canucks teammates against the Thunderbirds.
It would be much easier to schedule an exhibition game against the Thunderbirds as there would be less logistics involved. The team would not be concerned about compensation like another professional team would and the players would be ecstatic about sharing the ice with their hometown NHL team.
The Thunderbirds play this Friday and Saturday against the University of Lethbridge in Alberta. They don’t play again until the following Friday and Saturday against the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, so a exhibition matchup early next week is not out of the possibilities.