Abbotsford Heat management shot down rumours Thursday about possible relocation and affiliation switches related to the Vancouver Canucks.
On Thursday morning, CKNW radio reported on its website that a deal to move the WHL’s Chilliwack Bruins to Victoria is “70 per cent done.”
The Bruins’ potential relocation, combined with rumblings of the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes moving to Winnipeg, could create a domino effect involving teams in a number of leagues, including the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, the ECHL’s Victoria Salmon Kings, and the BCHL’s Langley Chiefs.
One of the scenarios discussed in the CKNW report involved the Calgary Flames moving their AHL affiliate, the Heat, to Chilliwack, and the Moose, the Canucks’ top farm club, moving to Abbotsford.
Placing two AHL franchises in such close proximity seems a long shot, though, and Heat president Tom Mauthe dismissed the notion.
“Anything to do with relocation is complete speculation,” Mauthe said. “We’re proud partners with the Calgary Flames.”
If Abbotsford’s AHL franchise were to land the Canucks affiliation in some form or fashion, it would certainly provide a box-office boost. The Heat averaged 6,143 fans for their four home games with the Moose this season; their overall average attendance is 3,655.
The Flames are in the second year of a 10-year affiliation agreement with the local ownership group.
CKNW also floated the possibility of the ECHL’s Salmon Kings or the BCHL’s Chiefs landing in Chilliwack.