Canadians, Jets, Switching Up AHL Teams


While American Hockey League (AHL) teams have been on the move west, it’s gone rather unnoticed what two Canadian NHL teams are doing with their minor league clubs. The Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets will see different minor league affiliates in the future.

According to reports, the Winnipeg Jets want to move their AHL team, the St. John’s IceCaps, to their home at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. There they would have both the AHL and NHL clubs in the same building, just like the San Jose Sharks new model.

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The IceCaps had signed an extension through next season, but that may have just been so they had time to find a new team to call Nova Scotia home. It looks like that could be the Canadiens.

The board of governors with the NHL could approve it next week, but reports indicate that the Habs would move their AHL club, the Hamilton Bulldogs, to St. John’s and take over as the IceCaps parent club.

The Hamilton team released a statement, via;

"“We are aware of the reports but at this point nothing is official,” it said. “We don’t want to add to the speculation with unconfirmed and inaccurate information. What we can tell you is that (Bulldogs owner and chairman) Michael Andlauer has been committed to our community, the fans and hockey in the city of Hamilton for over a decade and that will not change moving forward. We have no further comment at this time.”"

The IceCaps are yet to make a statement about their future.

There has been speculation for years that the Bulldogs would move, and that’s for two reasons; one, a new stadium was being built in Quebec and the Habs may have moved them there. The second was the never ending speculation that Ontario needs another NHL team (for Maple leafs fans who can’t afford to see their team, according to that speculation) and that it would be in Hamilton.

The Bulldogs signed a three year lease in 2013 and it would be up after the 2015-2016 season, the same time that the IceCaps would be moving to Winnipeg. It all falls together, if these reports are true.

The Buldogs had signed that team and at the time the talk was to be celebrating 20 years in Hamilton at the end. They have two options as well on their contract to stay in southern Ontario, but if it’s approved, Ontario will lose one of their two AHL teams.