More on AHL shuffle
The last few days have seen more development on the rumored movement AHL clubs.
Over the weekend, The Province reported a potential three-way deal between the Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames that involved the Flames moving their AHL operations from Abbotsford, British Columbia to Utica. Abbotsford being about an hour's drive from Vancouver (and about nine hours from Calgary), it would be a natural fit for Vancouver as an AHL affiliate. Vancouver was to buy the Peoria Rivermen from the St. Louis Blues and move them to the vacated arena in Abbotsford, then St. Louis would take control of the Chicago Wolves, which has been Vancouver's AHL club.
Well, some of that happened.
In Monday's edition of The Peoria Journal Star, it was reported the Blues have sold the Rivermen to Vancouver. However, Tuesday's Calgary Herald quotes the Flames as saying there will be no move to Utica.
The article quotes from a statement provided by the Calgary Flames: "On behalf of our fans and on behalf of our local partners in the Abbotsford Heat, we wish to emphasize that there is no 'three-way deal' (or any other deal) that will see the Canucks move their development program to Abbotsford for next season. We remain committed to our fans and partners in Abbotsford and look forward to sharing many more seasons with them."
This throws some doubt on the reports of the Flames moving to Utica after this season ends. I only allow for some doubt and not complete acceptance because teams have been known to talk out both sides of their faces and change course overnight. I have no experience with the Flames, so I can't say they conduct themselves in this way, but it's something that sometimes happens.
So for now, it doesn't look like the Flames will be in Utica, as was blogged by Don Laible of the Utica Observer-Dispatch in February. But, I'll take a wait and see approach, because it still could shake out that these teams end up in motion during the offseason. I still, though, doubt the Flames or any other team would land in Utica to sign a 10-year contract, as Laible reported. I've been wrong before, though, so we'll see.