A look into the world of the American Hockey League outside of just the normal game re-caps.
AHL Commissioner Says Second, Third Rounds Could Move to Five Games; Talks AHL in Houston, West Coast
Stephen Meserve | 100 Degree Hockey
With the Texas Stars earning a total of eight end-of-season trophies, the American Hockey League commissioner and president, Dave Andrews, was in town to present the trophies and plaques. It was also a chance to talk to the league boss about many of the topics swirling around the AHL these days. He had thoughts on the potential west coast relocation of many teams in the league, the future of hockey in Houston, the potential for an All-Star game in Cedar Park, advanced stats in the AHL and a very interesting take on the future of five-game playoff series.
Potential for Pacific coast relocation and importance of a deep development system
Since the last time I spoke with Andrews, the league has been rolling strong with thirty teams for four years now. Andrews said it was a long-time goal to get to thrity teams in the league and matchup one-to-one with the National Hockey League.
“It’s probably more important for the NHL for every team to have a full development system, which they did not have until we got to 30 teams. When you look at the numbers in the NHL, we’re close to 90% of the players who have come through our league. This year alone, we’ve had 360 players called up to play.” Read More…
Jordan Bateman: Auditor general should turn up heat on Abbotsford’s bad hockey deal
Jordan Bateman | The Province
Leave it to local government to find a way to lose money on something as near and dear to Canadians’ hearts as professional hockey.
Abbotsford’s long, painfully expensive dance with the American Hockey League is finally over, but taxpayers in the Fraser Valley community will be picking up the pieces for years to come, after subsidizing the Abbotsford Heat hockey team by at least $15 million in just five years.
Thankfully, B.C. now has an auditor-general for local government and it couldn’t be more needed in Abbotsford than right now.
In 2009, desperate to find a tenant for their white elephant of a brand new arena, Abbotsford city council signed a 10-year sweetheart deal with the billionaire owners of the Calgary Flames. The Flames moved their AHL affiliate to Abbotsford, with taxpayers covering any financial losses.
And the losses quickly mounted in what may be the worst example of a municipality handing out corporate welfare in B.C. history.
Abbotsford taxpayers cut the Flames cheques totalling $7.2 million to cover operating losses over the past five years. On top of that, taxpayers paid another $5.5 million to escape the final five years of the contract, which Abbotsford officials believe to be roughly 50 per cent of what they would have paid if the contract had run its course. Read More…
Second-half recovery for Chicago Wolves attendance
Danny Ecker | ChicagoBusiness.com
A ticket sales surge during the second half of the season rallied the final paid attendance number for the Chicago Wolves.
The American Hockey League franchise wrapped up the regular season April 19 with a 6-0 win over the Milwaukee Admirals in front of more than 12,000, bringing the final season average to 8,301 per game.
That’s a shade higher than at the end of last season, 5 percent more than two years ago and 12 percent higher than in 2010-11.
The celebration of the franchise’s 20th season and the return of the all-time winningest head coach in team history, John Anderson, gave the family-friendly brand a little extra marketing spice this season. Read More…
OKC Barons: Texas will provide Barons with a formidable challenge in first-round playoff series
The Barons face a daunting challenge in a first-round playoff series against the Texas Stars, who posted the best record in the American Hockey League.
Oklahoma City, though, is not a typical No. 8 seed.
After the NHL regular season ended last weekend, the Edmonton Oilers reassigned team captain Anton Lander, plus Will Acton, Tyler Pitlick, Steve Pinizzotto and Oscar Kelfbom to Oklahoma City.
“If we had continuity the whole year, our record would be a lot stronger,” said coach Todd Nelson, whose team finished the regular season with a 36-29-11 mark. “Just getting into the playoffs was an outstanding achievement for this team. With all the guys back, we’re stronger than we’ve been at any point this season.” Read More…
Providence Bruins loom as worthy playoff adversary for Springfield Falcons
With 65 points through February, the Providence Bruins stood in danger of missing a berth in the American Hockey League playoffs.
Then, they turned it up a couple of notches in March and April, going 11-5-1-3. That pickup of 26 points put them at 91 – good enough for seventh place in the Eastern Conference, just one up on Norfolk. The Hershey Bears, usually a playoff team, came up short with 88.
Providence’s No. 7 seeding means a matchup with the No. 2 Springfield Falcons in the first round. At the gate, that certainly will be good news for Springfield management. The Falcons’ five home games against the P-Bruins drew an average attendance of 5,256, including a peak crowd of 6,235 for their last visit to the MassMutual Center March 15.
According to regular-season performance, the matchup on the ice should be good for the Falcons as well. But as any playoff-watcher knows, Springfield’s 6-2-0-2 record in the season series has little, if anything, to do with what happens in postseason play.
As coach Brad Larsen said, “I tell our players that these playoffs are the 15 hardest games to win, and that’s what it takes to get the Calder Cup.” Read More…
Also from Gary Brown check out: Scheduling twist has Springfield Falcons opening playoffs Wednesday on road
Samson named CCM/AHL Player of the Week
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that St. John’s IceCaps right wing Jerome Samson has been selected as the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Apr. 20, 2014.
Samson tallied two goals and five assists for seven points, along with a plus-5 rating, in two games last week as the IceCaps closed out their regular season with a pair of road wins. Read More…