by Dan Krieger
July 19, 2016 - American Hockey League (AHL)
American Hockey League: The National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens announced they will move its AHL affiliate called the St. John's IceCaps from Newfoundland to a new arena in Laval (Quebec) for the 2017-18 season. Prior to the 2015-16 season, the Canadiens moved its Hamilton Bulldogs AHL affiliate from Ontario to St. John's on a temporary basis while a new arena was built closer to Montreal. Another St. John's IceCaps team, which was affiliated with the NHL's Winnipeg Jets, was moved by the Jets to Winnipeg for the 2015-16 season and left the St. John's market available for the Montreal affiliate.
The NHL's Ottawa Senators are considering a move of its Binghamton (NY) Senators AHL affiliate closer to home in Belleville (Ontario). If this move happens, there is speculation the AHL's Albany (NY) Devils would then move to Binghamton. The new ownership of the NHL's New York Islanders stated that its Bridgeport (CT) Sound Tigers AHL affiliate will not be moving to the Islanders' former home at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island when renovations are completed next year. The Sound Tigers have a lease through 2021 in Bridgeport.
ECHL: The ECHL announced the divisional alignment for the 27 teams that will be part of the 2016-17 season. Each conference was reduced from three to two divisions with teams realigned among the divisions. The Eastern Conference loses the Midwest Division and is aligned into a six-team North Division and a seven-team South Division. The Western Conference loses the Midwest Division and is aligned into a seven-team Central Division and a seven-team Mountain Division, renamed from the West Division. The ECHL had 28 teams for the 2015-16 season, but the Evansville IceMen will sit out the 2016-17 season as the team plans to move to Owensboro (KY) for the 2017-18 season
Federal Hockey League: The owner of the FHL's Dayton Demolition announced the team will not play in the 2016-17 season due to the unavailability of its home at Hara Arena. The Dayton Demolition started play in the FHL when the owner of the league's Berkshire Battalion (North Adams, MA) relocated the team to Dayton for the 2015-16 season. The Demolition replaced the league's Dayton Demonz franchise, whose owner stopped operating the team after three seasons (2012-15), became involved with the Port Huron Prowlers expansion team and acquired the protected player list of the Demonz for the 2015-16 season. The FHL was forced to terminate the ownership of the Demolition in January 2016 and the current ownership eventually took over the franchise. There had been talk of possibly renaming the Dayton team. The FHL also announced the Brewster (NY) Bulldogs will suspend operations for the 2016-17 season. The Bulldogs were an expansion team for the 2015-16 season and co-owned by the owner of the league's Danbury (CT) Titans team. The FHL recently held a dispersal draft for the Brewster Bulldogs and Dayton Demolition.