by Andy Villanueva
Sorry about the last two months, apparently everyone is a critic and a good chance no one missed me. During the holidays, my father-in-law’s new girlfriend had over her 4-year old grandson, his response upon meeting me. “I don’t like you!” He wasn’t old enough to read the column. But everyone is a critic.
Recently, in “the TENS” we have been posting rumblings we have heard on what is considered the “Triple-A” hockey league that is a feeder to the NHL.
Now it is actually official. Beginning in 2015-16 the AHL will have California teams.
So see if you can follow….
The Los Angeles Kings will move their Manchester Monarchs franchise to Ontario. The only thing I can think of with this move with the ECHL Ontario Reign is already in the building. Don’t know if they will keep two hockey teams in the fold for two different leagues, but with some of the moves being made, it is unlikely the Reign will be back in the form it is now.
The Anaheim Ducks purchased the Norfolk Admirals and will move them to San Diego. What the mascot name will be is yet to be determined, but with a long history of the SD Gulls being in San Diego sports lore that is my choice. The Admirals were already the AHL affiliate. The ECHL affiliate are the Utah Grizzlies, that doesn’t appear to change.
The San Jose Sharks will be moving their Worcester Sharks franchise to San Jose. The ECHL affiliate is in Allen, Tx so that doesn’t appear to be changing either.
The Edmonton Oilers purchased the Oklahoma City Barons and will move the franchise to its current ECHL city, Bakersfield. The Condors play at Rabobank Arena.
The Calgary Flames will move the Adirondack Flames from Glenn Falls, NY to Stockton. This is probably the most interesting move of the five teams. Mainly due to the fact that the New York Islanders have an ECHL feeder team called the Stockton Thunder.
The two moves that were being mentioned that didn’t take place were the fact that there were rumors about the Arizona SunDogs being part of the AHL move and becoming the Arizona Coyotes affiliate. The speculation came at the end of last season when the SunDogs suspended operations prior to the CHL merging with the ECHL. The other move at one time prior to the new NHL rumors being mentioned for Las Vegas were that the Wranglers would return to the ice in 2015-16 season as a member of the AHL. Now that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Either way, if you are a hockey fan it is a win-win for you. Now just as we see in the California League where we can watch Clayton Kershaw pitch for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, we can now watch Drew Doughty rehab with the Ontario AHL club.
Andy Villanueva can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org