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Heat's territorial rights limit Canucks' local AHL options

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Don't expect to see the Vancouver Canucks sharing their home rink, Rogers Arena, with their AHL farm team any time soon.

Fraser Valley Sports and Entertainment (FVSE), the group which operates the Abbotsford Heat, holds AHL territorial rights for a 50-mile (roughly 80-kilometre) radius of the city's border.

"That would put it halfway to Victoria, in the water system," noted the FVSE's Lane Sweeting.

Media reports out of Vancouver on Thursday floated the notion of the Canucks moving the Peoria Rivermen – the AHL franchise they purchased earlier this month – into Rogers Arena, but it's hard to imagine the Heat would be eager to roll out the welcome mat for another team in the immediate vicinity.

Not only would the increased competition in the hockey marketplace be a detriment to the Heat, but allowing the Canucks to station their farm team in Vancouver would presumably lessen the chances that they end up in Abbotsford in the future.

Sweeting's group had been willing to allow the Calgary Flames to move the Heat out of town in order to make room for the Canucks' affiliate in Abbotsford, if a deal could be struck.

But talks between the City of Abbotsford (which owns the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre) and the local NHL club reached a stalemate recently, ensuring the Heat will remain for the 2013-14 season.

"As far as we're concerned, we have a 50-mile radius from the (Abbotsford) boundary, and anything other than that is just speculation that we don't want to comment on," Sweeting said.

Other rumoured locations for the Vancouver's AHL affiliate include the Seattle/Tacoma area or Utica, N.Y., where the Heat were allegedly headed if the Canucks had struck a deal with Abbotsford. There's also the possibility that the Rivermen could stay put in Peoria for 2013-14, or that the Canucks simply suspend operations of the AHL club for one season.

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