Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis appeared on the Team 1040 on Friday and provided an update on Canucks Sports & Entertainment’s purchase of the Peoria Rivermen AHL franchise, which has been approved by the AHL’s Board of Governors.
Gillis said he isn’t sure where the team will be located next year and they are currently looking at all their options.
“There are a number of possibilities,” he said. “We would like to have the team close to our territory in order to be able to use the resources we have and operate in a manner that’s consistent with the Canuck organization.”
Reading the between the lines, it sounds like Gillis wants the team in Abbotsford and in the Fraser Valley area or in Metro Vancouver.
What Canucks ‘resources’ could Gills be referring to? The “mind room” at Rogers Arena comes to mind. The only way this ‘resource’ can be accessible to the players if the team is located in Metro Vancouver or the Fraser Valley.
“We’re looking at every possible venue,” added Gillis. “I haven’t made a decision yet and probably won’t make a decision for a few weeks, but we’re hopeful to have it in the west [and] close to us, so we can do everything necessary to have it be successful.”
His assistant general manager, Laurence Gilman was in the East Coast of the United States on Wednesday to look at possible cities and arenas to house the Canucks AHL franchise.
Former NHL goaltender Robert Esche is leading a group of investors interested in bringing AHL hockey back to the city of Utica, New York. Reports in February indicated the Calgary Flames-owned Abbotsford Heat were moving to Utica and the Canucks were going to move their AHL franchise to Abbotsford.
There is no information if negotiations are still ongoing or have fallen through.