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City of Abbotsford, Canucks finalize partnership agreement

American Hockey League team officially playing in Abbotsford starting in October
The Vancouver Canucks AHL franchise will officially play out of the Abbotsford Centre starting this October. (File photo)

It’s official - the Aqulini Investment Group is now in control of the Abbotsford Centre.

The city of Abbotsford made the announcement on its Facebook page earlier today, confirming that the notice of intent to award a contract opportunity for the arena has been awarded to AIG.

This confirms that the Vancouver Canucks, which are owned by AIG, will be bringing the club’s American Hockey League franchise to the Abbotsford Centre. The initial agreement is for five years, but renewal options could see the partnership last as much as 20.

As part of the agreement, the City of Abbotsford pays $750,000 a year to Aquilini Investment Group for managing and operating responsibility for the Abbotsford Centre as a multi-purpose entertainment and sports facility. Aquilini Investment Group will manage staffing, event bookings, ticketing and food and beverage management.

This contract also includes revenue sharing where the City benefits from enhanced financial gains by sharing in the profits if there are an average of 5,000 tickets sold per regular season game.

The effective date of the awarded contract is Jan. 1, 2022.

“We’re thrilled to finalize our partnership with the City of Abbotsford and can’t wait to bring the AHL and our Canucks prospects home to the Fraser Valley,” stated Francesco Aquilini, Chairman, Canucks Sports & Entertainment in a press release. “Thank you to Mayor Braun and his staff for their collaboration and commitment. Our partnership will have a positive impact in the local community, and we look forward to building important local relationships with fans in the weeks and months ahead.”

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“On behalf of Council and the residents of Abbotsford, I’m pleased to officially welcome the Vancouver Canucks’ American Hockey League affiliate team to Abbotsford,” stated Mayor Henry Braun, City of Abbotsford. “This new partnership fosters strong ongoing community connections and economic benefits for years to come. We’re grateful to Francesco, the Aquilini family and the Canucks for their work in making this agreement a reality and for helping to solidify Abbotsford as a leader for events, entertainment and sport in the Fraser Valley.”

“The American Hockey League is looking forward to returning to Abbotsford this fall,” stated AHL President and CEO Scott Howson. “With the Fraser Valley’s location in the heart of Vancouver Canucks country and with the Canucks’ commitment to the region, we have confidence that the partnership between the club and the City of Abbotsford will be a successful one.”

The city of Abbotsford also posted a Q&A section addressing other inquiries locals may have about the team.

According to information posted by the city of Abbotsford, thousands have already made the deposit for season tickets next year. Information about ticket prices, schedule, team name, logo, and other details will be announced in the weeks ahead.

The AHL season is set to start in October.

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Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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