The Vancouver Canucks won’t be placing their American Hockey League team in Vancouver or Rogers Arena, according to general manager Mike Gillis.
Gillis in his year-end media availability said he didn’t think it was possible for Rogers Arena to house the team. He did say there are two cities they are currently looking at.
Gillis has two cities in mind to locate new AHL franchise. Rogers Arena? “I don’t think that’s possible.” #canucks
— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) May 9, 2013
It is not possible because the Abbotsford Heat has territorial rights to areas within 50 miles (80 kilometres) of the city. A Canucks AHL team in Vancouver would make it even that much more difficult for the Heat to draw fans, so don’t expect the Heat to relinquish their rights.
Last month, Gillis said the team would like to have the team in the west in order for the players to have access to the team’s resources. It would only be the second team in the Pacific or Mountain Time Zones. Various NHL teams expressed a desire in 2011 to create a more ‘western’ Western Conference.
The Canucks have until May 13 to apply for relocation approval from the AHL’s Board of Governors. If the Canucks cannot find a city by then, the Peoria Rivermen would have to remain in Illinois and a new lease would have to be negotiated with the city for the Peoria Civic Center. The other option would be to suspend operations and assign the team’s prospects to different teams in the AHL.