If it is indeed true the Vancouver Canucks are owners of the Peoria Rivermen American Hockey League franchise, where will they place the team next season? Would it be in the city of Abbotsford?
Reports indicated yesterday the Canucks have purchased the Rivermen from the St. Louis Blues and the team has opted out of its lease Peoria Civic Center. The Canucks have not denied or confirmed the report. The AHL doesn’t appear to be aware of any potential sale either.
The #Canucks refusing to make any comment on reports that have bought or are about to buy Peoria AHL franchise from StL Blues
— Brad Ziemer (@BradZiemer) March 30, 2013
— Kelcey Brade (@ctv_kelcey) March 30, 2013
The Sport Market’s Tom Mayenknecht reported last week the Calgary Flames were going to move their farm team, the Abbotsford Heat, to Utica, New York. The Canucks would then purchase the Rivermen and move them to Abbotsford. The Heat have not yet moved out of Abbotsford and it doesn’t appear they will either at this point.
What are some other cities that could house the Canucks farm team aside from Abbotsford?
Vancouver - A study conducted found Vancouver could support a second NHL team, so there is little question they could support an American Hockey League franchise. The baby Canucks could play out of the 7500-seat UBC Thunderbird Arena, which is sparsely booked. The Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants would probably use all the cards they have at their disposal to object to this move though.
Chilliwack - The WHL’s Chilliwack Bruins left the city’s 5000-seat Prospera Centre after the 2010-11 season to become the Victoria Royals due to stiff competition from the Abbotsford Heat. It currently is home to the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs.
Seattle - The city of Seattle will be constructing a multi-millionaire dollar arena pending the approval of the relocation of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings to Seattle. There are rumours they would like to bring in an NHL team to complement the NBA team in the city. They could follow the Winnipeg route by first proving their viability as a professional hockey market with a minor league team. Seattle has a WHL team, but they play in neighbouring Kent, Washington.
Portland & Saskatoon - Two cities that are also interested in bringing in an NHL team. However, like Vancouver, both cities have WHL teams, so it may be tricky.
Kansas City - The Canucks were formerly affiliated with the Kansas City Blades for one season, but that franchise folded after the International Hockey League ceased operations. The city is also looking for an NHL team, but Kansas City is not much closer than Chicago.
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