A look into the world of the American Hockey League outside of just the normal game re-caps.
Canada’s AHL teams hit hard by falling dollar
By Teri Pecoskie | Hamilton Spectator
In Hamilton and across Canada, American Hockey League teams are being burned by the drooping dollar.
Bulldogs president Stephen Ostaszewicz says a dip in the loonie’s value — around 15 per cent since the team’s travel budget was set last June — has created “a significant headwind.”
“All of our trips on the back end of the schedule, specifically the months of March and April, are U.S.-based,” he added. “It’s just another avenue that creates pressure on the business.”
The Bulldogs — along with St. John’s IceCaps and Toronto Marlies, the league’s other Canadian franchises — play the vast majority of their 38 road games south of the border.
That means everything from hotel bills to player per diems are paid in U.S. funds.
Seven months ago, when the teams planned for the upcoming season (the AHL’s fiscal year starts July 1), the loonie was hovering around 95 cents US. Read More…
Understanding the AHL Pacific: Independent v. NHL Ownership
By Stephen Meserve | 100 Degree Hockey
Monday’s article about AHL affiliations and arena contracts included a lot of information about NHL ownership versus independent ownership. One key to understanding the movement that is happening the AHL is the sometimes divergent set of needs that these two groups of owners have.
First, let’s set up the ground rules here. The AHL has 30 franchises. Every one of those franchises is affiliated with an NHL club. Some of them are owned by the same group that owns the NHL team. With the purchase of the Texas Stars and the Norfolk Admirals, there are now 15 of these teams in the league. The remaining 15 teams are owned by groups independent of their NHL team.
All AHL teams, regardless of NHL or independent ownership, have an affiliation agreement with their NHL partner. In these deals, the AHL team pays some amount of money to the NHL club for the affiliation and the NHL team agrees to send its development players to the AHL side. In addition, there may be some details regarding the NHL teams providing some assistance with AHL travel. In the NHL-owned case, it’s basically just shifting money from one bucket to another on these affiliate deals. Read More…
Lightning acquire Ashton, Broll
The Tampa Bay Lightning, parent club of the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, have acquired right wing Carter Ashton and left wing David Broll from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
Ashton has played 12 games with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies this season, notching four goals and four assists for eight points. He has also skated in seven NHL games with the Maple Leafs in 2014-15. Read More…
Coyotes exploring multiple AHL options including San Antonio
By Craig Morgan | Fox Sports Arizona
GLENDALE, Ariz. — With the American Hockey League’s Pacific Division taking shape, it’s only a matter of time before the Coyotes, Colorado and possibly Vancouver join the movement. When that happens for the Coyotes depends on a host of factors, but according to two sources familiar with the situation, it could happen as soon as next season.
Arizona announced a one-year affiliation extension with the Portland (Maine) Pirates of the AHL last May, and there exists the possibility that it could be extended another year. But the Coyotes are exploring other avenues to bring the affiliate closer to Arizona. The move would significantly reduce the travel time required when the team calls up players, and make it easier for the management staff to see its prospects on a regular basis.
There are also reports that Portland will seek a long-term affiliation with another NHL club. Read More…
Stars Meech, Rallo reach career milestones
Sean Shapiro | American-Statesman
CEDAR PARK — Texas Stars veterans Derek Meech and Greg Rallo both hit career milestones Thursday night against the San Antonio Rampage.
Meech, 30, played in his 600th career professional game while Rallo, 33, appeared in his 500th American Hockey League contest.
“It doesn’t feel like it; it feels like it flew by,” Rallo said Thursday morning before the team bused to San Antonio. “Pretty cool, though. Special for me that my career turned out the way it did, and I ended up playing as many games I have.”
It was fitting that Rallo’s 500th game came as a result of a Texas-San Antonio matchup. Rallo, a center, played for Texas from 2009-11 and then spent the next three seasons with San Antonio before rejoining the Stars this season. Read More…
After Slow Start, Hrivik Putting Up Points For Wolf Pack
Paul Doyle | Hartford Courant
RTFORD — As he began his third season in the American Hockey League, Wolf Pack forward Marek Hrivik was primed for a breakout season.
Instead, he struggled to score. Hrivik had two points in his first 15 games, and had just two goals and one assist in his first 21 games through the end of November.
Things started to pick up with six assists in December and the scoring touch was uncovered last month, as Hrivik notched five goals and six assists in 12 games.
With a goal in a loss in Syracuse Wednesday night, Hrivik has scored in four consecutive games. Overall, he has eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points in 45 games. Read more…