For many years the National Hockey League’s Western Conference Pacific Division teams have expressed great interest in moving their top-prospects in the American Hockey League closer to their home arena’s. The idea is to have the next generation of talent closer for emergency call-ups, and decrease the yearly cost of travel expenses. NHL teams like Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, and San Jose will relocate their top minor hockey affiliates at the end of this current season, and a new AHL Pacific Division will be created and ready to play for the 2015-16 season.
Here is a list of teams on the move.
Norfolk Admirals (Anaheim Ducks) will relocate from Norfolk, VA. to San Diego CA.
Adirondack Flames (Calgary Flames) will relocate from Glens Falls, NY. to Stockton CA.
Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton Oilers) will relocate from Oklahoma City, OK. to Bakersfield, CA.
Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles Kings) will relocate from Manchester, NH. to Ontario, CA.
Worcester Sharks (San Jose Sharks) will relocate from Worcester, MA. to San Jose, CA.
At the American Hockey League’s Board of Governors meetings held last week, the board unanimously approved the creation of the westward movement, and AHL President, and CEO David Andrews, along with LA Kings President Luc Robitaille, and San Jose Sharks CEO John Tortora had this to say:
“Relocating five teams is a complex process, and we are very excited to have brought this initiative to a successful outcome,” said Andrews. “The Western-based NHL clubs have been in dialogue with our league for almost three years, and today’s announcement launches a new era for the American Hockey League and for professional hockey in California.”
“This is a wonderful growth opportunity for the game of hockey in the Western region and it will have a tremendous impact for years to come,” said Luc Robitaille, President of Business Operations for the Los Angeles Kings. “I want to commend each of the participating clubs, along with Dave Andrews, Bill Daly and Gary Bettman, for their commitment, patience and willingness to work through a very challenging but worthwhile process in order to get to this day.”
“The immense growth of the game of hockey in the state of California shows that hockey fans here love the game and they support it,” said San Jose Sharks Chief Operating Officer John Tortora. “Having our top prospects playing on the same coast as our National Hockey League team will greatly enhance our ability to monitor and enhance their development. The creation of this Pacific Division of the American Hockey League has been a long time in the making and is the result of an immense amount of hard work by the AHL, the NHL and the five Pacific Division teams. We are extremely excited to have this division become a reality and we can’t wait for October 2015.”