The Vancouver Canucks have purchased the Peoria Rivermen from the St. Louis Blues, according to reporter Andy Strickland. He says the Blues will sign an affiliation agreement with the Chicago Wolves next season.
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) March 30, 2013
The Blues have notified officials at the Peoria Civic Center that the Rivermen will be moving out of the arena at the conclusion of the season.
The Sport Market’s Tom Mayenknecht reported last week that the Calgary Flames were going to move the Abbotsford Heat (which they own) to Utica, New York for the 2013-14 season. The Canucks would purchase the Peoria Rivermen franchise from the Blues and move it to Abbotsford. The Blues would then sign an affiliation agreement with the Wolves.
It is no secret the Canucks want to move into the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre, but the city has a ten-year agreement with the Flames that runs to the end of the 2018-19 season. The deal guarantees the Flames annual revenue of $5.7 million, but the team has been unable to generate that kind of me. Each year taxpayers have been forced to subsidize the team.
However, there is little incentive for the Flames to cease operations in the city and move there team elsewhere with such a favourable agreement in place. Strickland says the Canucks explored the possibility of purchasing the Heat franchise, but those talks “ended several days ago.”
The Canucks cannot place their newly purchased AHL franchise in Abbotsford unless the Heat move out. The Peoria Journal Star reports the Canucks could leave the team in Peoria for at least the 2013-14 season if it cannot move into Abbotsford or another city next season.
The Canucks affiliation agreement with the Wolves expire at the end of the season.
Photo Credit: Todd Quinn/Flickr