Both the general manager and the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks seem to be pleased that the team’s American Hockey League franchise will soon be located in Abbotsford.
GM Jim Benning and head coach Travis Green answered questions from the Vancouver press following the news that Green has signed a two-year extension to stay on as head coach with the team.
Benning was asked a question about areas where the team needs improvement and stated that moving the team to Abbotsford will be a big improvement for the organization.
“I think us moving the farm team to Abbotsford is a fantastic move,” he said. “To be able to stay on top of the development of our players down there, to have the interaction between our strength and conditioning coaches in Vancouver with the Abbotsford people and all the different phases of that. Being able to show up at the games next year and watch the players play and develop, I think it was an excellent decision by Francesco [Aquilini, owner] and it’s going to pay dividends for our organization moving forward.”
Green said he hopes to have the ability to take in some of the games himself and see how the talent is developing.
“I think it’ll be good,” he said, of the move. “Once we get back to a regular schedule, during the regular season sometimes we have two, three or four days in between games, it gives us a chance to go out and sit with the coaches and watch the players or a practice. I’ve talked to other people around the league when they have their minor league team in the same city and there are a lot of advantages to it.”
The Canucks announced the intention to relocate their AHL affiliate to Abbotsford on May 4. The AHL Board of Governors approved the relocation on May 6 and a proposal to run the Abbotsford Centre was offered to the Canucks ownership group by the city of Abbotsford also on May 6.
Benning also spoke on the issues surrounding Abbotsford native and Canucks forward Jake Virtanen, who was placed on a leave of absence by the team following sexual misconduct claims.
He stated that the Canucks took the allegations seriously, but it is now police business and has no idea where they are at with the investigation. He also confirmed that there is an ongoing independent investigation on the claims parallel to what the police is doing.
The Canucks placed Virtanen on leave on May 1, and the Vancouver Police Department first got in contact with the woman who made the claims on May 3. Earlier this week, it was revealed that a civil lawsuit against Virtanen has been filed by the woman.