It's believed that Vancouver may be moving their team from Utica, NY to the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver (the old home of the NHL team), as the junior team that had been at Pacific has moved to Langley, BC.
The article highlights the new Sacramento State AD, who came over from St. Mary's, seeking to complete the arena portion of the rec center students voted for over a decade ago. With a twist.
http://www.sacbee.com/sports/spt-column ... 84769.html
So they're actually considering an arena that not only houses Sac State basketball, but brings the Bighorns (the Sacto Kings G-League affiliate) from Reno AND minor league hockey.
The whisper: the hockey team would be the Barracudas, the Sharks' AHL affiliate currently playing before a couple of dozen people a game in SAP Center.
Now... most comparable arena effort to this in Sac State's conference is Portland State, who scrounged for years to get an arena proposal together for 5,000 seats. Viking Pavilion (working title, probably) will open next year with 3,000 seats... and obviously no hockey capability. I strongly suspect three basketball teams and other projects in Sacramento plus fundraising limitations will get the hockey concept thrown out.
Meanwhile, the Stockton Heat are just another Calgary AHL affiliate... floundering. I'm guessing an ownership trade will land Stockton with the Sharks, which is probably what should have happened in the first place.
...the NHL has opened an expansion process with Seattle. An ownership group is in place, a plan for another gutting/renovation of Key Arena requires a year worth of environmental review before final approval, and, eh, the NHL tipped their hand with the announcement.
That also means AHL affiliate.
There's currently the Seattle Thunderbirds (of Kent) and Everett Silvertips in the WHL. I don't think both can survive an NHL arrival. The Thunderbirds have a truly iconic logo and sweater that the ownership should outright buy, but I suspect that won't happen. The AHL will see Everett's arena and fall in love anyway, so I'd think that'll happen. That will also enable the Canucks to take their affiliation out of Utica and finally make Abbotsford happen for them. That also opens up some possibilities for a potentially moved Calgary affiliate... maybe in BC or Washington, maybe the Stampede Corral in Calgary, or maybe the Flames end up in Houston and they go a different route altogether.
One more thing: the lawsuit involving all the Canadian major junior teams does not appear to be going well for the leagues. The screwy part... the US-based teams were dismissed from the suit. I think that creates the possibility of a divorce, at least out west, given the above possible loss of one WHL team and the chance that, say, the Tri-City Americans might bow out instead of paying minimum wage to their players (and it's extraordinarily silly for the CHL leagues to run a different system for American-based teams). Is this where the ECHL could fill in, or even the AHL? Or a new league? All sorts of possibilities exist here.
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What would likely happen is the US teams would create their own league or join one of the US junior leagues. (US Hockey Tier I is probably about where Canadian Junior A is, a good step or two below CHL). The downside would be a lower level of competition. The upside would be they would be operating inside NCAA rules, so players would still have someplace to go when they are done.
Here is the link to a documentary the CBC did not too long ago: http://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/cbc-radi ... e/15264227
Here is the link to a documentary the CBC did not too long ago: http://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/cbc-radi ... e/15264227[/quote]
Why would Northwesterners want a hockey downgrade with the Seattle upgrade?
Another point: as much as a Western USHL league might make sense, USA Hockey is so massively provincial (plus double-plus interested in trying to help lower junior leagues sell more franchises to more suckers) that it'll never happen just for those truths.
In any event, consider the wheels to be in motion.
Of course, that's how the AHL affiliate discussion got started. Let's just say that I find it interesting that the former editor of the main Boise paper is a bit too hyped about this prospect, which kind of tells me he knows something about Boise being an AHL option.
I still think there's too much available money in Washington to not try to get AHL situated in Everett... or even Kent, but, eh.