Report: Coyotes AHL Now Moving to Springfield?


Yesterday we posted about the Arizona Coyotes and Florida Panthers possible switching AHL affiliates between Portland and San Antonio. Now, it seems like the Coyotes will change affiliates, but it won’t be the San Abtonio Rampage.

Rochester Americans announcer Rob Sanderson reported this afternoon about four affiliation switches that could be upcoming, and San Antonio will switch, but apparently not with Arizona, their former affiliate.

The Florida Panthers will take over the Portland pirates organization, currently belonging with Arizona. Next, the Rampage will become the AHL club for the Colorado Avalanche, who had a team in Erie, Pennsylvania. The Lake Erie Lock Monsters will be the new affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Coyotes will take the former Columbus affiliate, the Springfield Falcons.

According to Sanderson, the Pirates signed a four year deal to become the Panthers affiliate today, after their deal with the Coyotes runs out at the end of the year.

It had been reported earlier in the year that if the Coyotes grabbed a new affiliate they would want to eventually move them to their home state of Arizona, and doing that with the San Antonio Rampage would be nearly impossible since they are owned by the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.

They might figure that they could move the Falcons to Arizona more easily, because switching their team from Maine to Massachusetts makes almost no sense when it comes to the western swing the AHL has been attempting/

The move works great for a team like the Blue Jackets, since Erie is much closer to Columbus. They will now have their affiliate nearby for callups, which has been the main point of affiliation switches.

If Springfield did end up moving to Arizona in the next few years it would be a major blow to Massachusetts AHL hockey. The Worchester Sharks have already moved out to San Jose and not even an ECHL team will replace them as a tenet at their arena. The Falcons are the only remaining AHL club in the state.

The move is also interesting for the Avalanche, who wanted to have a team closer to the west after the California and Alberta teams moved. San Antonio is sure closer than Erie is, though it isn’t exactly dramatic of a move as other teams.

The next shoe to drop might be the Vancouver Canucks whose team is still east in Utica, New York. They and the Avalanche have been the last two western conference teams to make a switch.

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