No signs yet Abbotsford will be involved in AHL move west

Flames among several teams that will relocate minor league franchises to California

Abbotsford Centre

Abbotsford Centre

Just a year after moving their American Hockey League franchise out of Abbotsford, the Calgary Flames have announced their farm team is again in motion as part of a major AHL shift west to California.

The AHL has called a press conference for Friday in San Jose including team officials from the Flames, the San Jose Sharks, the Anaheim Ducks, the Los Angeles Kings, and the Edmonton Oilers. On Thursday, the AHL announced those teams will be relocating their franchises to cities in California.

Since leaving Abbotsford last spring, Calgary’s farm team has been playing out of Glens Falls, N.Y., and is now known as the Adirondack Flames.

The moves have renewed speculation and hope that the Vancouver Canucks will one day move their own AHL team west from Utica, N.Y., where they currently play, and possibly locate in the Abbotsford Centre.

The AHL’s lack of west coast teams – and the travel and costs associated with frequent trips east – had been cited as a reason both for the struggles of the Abbotsford Heat and the Vancouver Canucks’ own possible reluctance to move their affiliate to this area.

Although Thursday’s announcement triggered much speculation online, the Canucks have previously expressed enthusiasm with their current arrangement in Utica and have a contract through the 2015-16 season. While word has leaked out about the other west-bound teams, there has been no indication the Canucks’ affiliate would follow the other franchises west.