Moving affiliates closer to parent

Discussion in 'Fugu's Business of Hockey Forum' started by LadyStanley, Oct 16, 2018.

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  1. LadyStanley

    LadyStanley RIP Fugu

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    Vancouver and Tampa Bay are mulling their future affiliation locations. Why? Some teams have really long tethers for call ups.

    So, Florida and Tampa might want to have a mini clump of AHL teams in Florida, and Vancouver might consider moving their franchise west.

    As of the start of the 18-19 season, here are the (approximate) distances between parent and affiliate

    Distances kinda calculated as arena-to-arena

    San Jose Sharks/Barracuda and Winnipeg Jets/Manitoba Moose = 0 miles
    Toronto Maple Leafs/Marlies = 2.5 miles
    Montreal Canadians/Laval Rocket = 15 miles

    The above could definitely induce folks to live in one place between teams.

    Los Angeles Kings/Ontario Reign = 45 miles (but up to 90 minutes away)
    Colorado Avalanche/Colorado Eagles = 50 miles (but 60+ minutes)
    Boston Bruins/Providence Bruins = 51 miles (but easily 60+ minutes)
    Philadelphia Flyers/Leigh Valley Phantoms = 68 miles
    New York Islanders/Bridgeport Soundtigers = ~70 miles
    Buffalo Sabres/Rochester Americans = 76 miles
    Chicago Blackhawks/Rockford Hogs = 89 miles
    Anaheim Ducks/San Diego Gulls = 90 miles

    Now we're up to more in the range of "easy call up", but not necessarily conducive to sleeping in your own bed range.

    New York Rangers/Hartford Wolf Pack = 120 miles
    Ottawa Senators/Bellville Senators = 127 miles
    Arizona Coyotes/Tuscon Roadrunners = 131 miles
    Washington Capitals/Hershey Bears = 134 miles
    Columbus Blue Jackets/Cleveland Monsters = 144 miles
    Detroit Red Wings/Grand Rapids Griffins = 158 miles
    Carolina Hurricanes/Charlotte Checkers = 163 miles
    New Jersey/Binghampton Devils = 168 miles
    Dallas/Texas Stars = 182

    2-3 hours travel time, not counting traffic or weather.

    Minnesota/Iowa Wild = 246
    Pittsburgh/WBS Penguins = 270

    Long day of travel by car. Flying faster.

    Nashville Predators/Milwaukee Admirals = 567
    St Louis Blues/San Antonio Rampage = 900
    Tampa Bay Lightning/Syracuse Crunch = 1268
    Calgary Flames/Stockton Heat = 1294
    Florida Panthers/Springfield Thunderbirds = 1391
    Edmonton Oilers/Bakersfield Condors = 1742
    Vegas Golden Knights/Chicago Wolves = 1758
    Vancouver Canucks/Utica Comets = 2903

    The last are gotta-fly-crazy-to-drive up to full-day-of-travel.
     
  2. BattleBorn

    BattleBorn Global Moderator

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    I think it's a little more complicated than mileage. Unless you're sharing a city with your AHL team, it has more to do with your AHL team's proximity to a major airport than can get a guy not only to your home city, but a potential road call-up.

    Based on mileage, VGK's affiliation stinks. However, I'd bet a lot of money they're a top affiliation based on prospect ease of access to games. If Vancouver found a way to affiliate with Gwinnett/Atlanta, they'd almost instantly improve, even versus affiliating with a team in a closer city like Boise. It's a lot easier to get to Vancouver (or any other NHL city) from Atlanta than it is from Boise.
     
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  3. gstommylee

    gstommylee Registered User

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    This would also decide on where Seattle's AHL could potentially be if vancouver move their west.
     
  4. BattleBorn

    BattleBorn Global Moderator

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    It doesn't.

    Today's truth doesn't equal tomorrow's truth. If Seattle and Vegas want to purchase teams and make them move west, the AHL isn't going to say no.

    It's literally not an issue, especially when Seattle's a few years off. The AHL has withstood plenty of stupid scheduling decisions and alignments that have made a lot less sense for a lot less important reasons.
     
  5. AdmiralsFan24

    AdmiralsFan24 Registered User

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    The Wolves play right across I-90 from O'Hare. That would be much more preferable than Vegas having their AHL team in Reno or something. Tell the player at the morning skate or whatever that they're getting called up and have an airport that has flights pretty much everywhere right there to get them wherever they need to go.
     
  6. gstommylee

    gstommylee Registered User

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    But if Vancouver moves theirs to let say somewhere in BC it would make sense to have Seattle's be somewhere in the northwest.
     
  7. AdmiralsFan24

    AdmiralsFan24 Registered User

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    Not necessarily. Atlanta or Houston would be better AHL options than say Boise or Spokane like BattleBorn said.
     
  8. gstommylee

    gstommylee Registered User

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    That would also require the AHL to change things around alignment wise which they may or may not want to do.
     
  9. AdmiralsFan24

    AdmiralsFan24 Registered User

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    I can't remember the last time the AHL didn't realign. It's really not an issue. Say Houston is willing to bring an AHL team back in their building. Houston would join the Central and Grand Rapids would leave the Central and join the North.
     
  10. gstommylee

    gstommylee Registered User

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    NHL might block Houston from putting an AHL team there. THey did when Vancouver tried to put one in Seattle.
     
  11. BattleBorn

    BattleBorn Global Moderator

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    Exactly. I'm sure there's been at least one AHL season recently that there wasn't a move or a realignment, but I couldn't tell you when that was of the top of my head, or if it even happened.
     
  12. AdmiralsFan24

    AdmiralsFan24 Registered User

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    Colorado was added and moved to the Pacific this year. Cleveland moved from the Central to the North.

    Last year Charlotte moved from the Central to the Atlantic.

    In 2016-17 Tucson was added to the Pacific moving from Springfield and Portland moved to Springfield.

    2015-16 was the inaugural Pacific Division season so a ton of changes.

    2014-15 had Adirondack move to Lehigh Valley and Abbotsford relocate to Glens Falls (Adirondack). That caused Lehigh Valley to move to the East Division and Adirondack to move to the Northeast. Lake Erie moved from the North Division to the Midwest Division and Iowa moved from the Midwest to the West.

    2013-14 Houston moved to Des Moines and Peoria moved to Utica.

    2012-13 Abbotsford, Grand Rapids and Charlotte all changed divisions from the previous year.

    2011-12 The AHL moved from 4 divisions of 7 or 8 teams to 6 divisions of 5 teams.

    2010-11 Albany moved to Charlotte. Lowell moved to Albany and Edmonton reactivated the Roadrunners and moved them to Oklahoma City.

    2009-10 Quad City moved to Abbotsford. Philadelphia moved to Glens Falls. Iowa suspended operations and were eventually bought and moved to the Austin area to become the Texas Stars.

    So I believe the last year there were no changes (other than teams just changing affiliates) was 10 years ago.
     
  13. LadyStanley

    LadyStanley RIP Fugu

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    FWIW, I do agree with Battleborn WRT location to major metro airport. Bakersfield call ups usually drive to LAX to fly wherever. (Stockton to SJC/OAK/SFO)

    I'm thinking Spokane might be an interesting location for an AHL team (affiliated with Seattle). However, that's a big hit (potentially) to WHL. Similar with Portland, OR.

    Reno would be a good location, affiliation-wise for VGK
     
  14. KevFu

    KevFu Registered User

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    Stockton call-ups probably fly out of Sacramento, depending on where they are headed. Less options from Sacramento, but a lot easier to get to. The traffic from Stockton to SFO/OAK/SJ airports is pretty brutal. There's literally only one spot on the drive from Stockton to Sacramento that gets congested.


    We talked about this in the Seattle thread... the location of your AHL affiliate relative to the NHL affiliate doesn't matter quite as much as people thing because the travel from AHL to NHL for a call-up is based more on THE SCHEDULES.

    Let's say Tampa Bay moved their affiliate to Orlando and no one else in the AHL moved. Are call ups easier?
    Tampa Home: Orlando Home = Yes | Orlando Road = No
    Tampa Road: Orlando Home = No | Orlando Road = Maybe, depends where.

    Obviously it's not an equal breakdown of time. It's tilted in the favor of "at home" because you're home when you're not on a road trip.

    Let’s use San Jose NHL/AHL as an example, because they’re both in the same building. Both teams are in San Jose for 70 out of 185 days (give or take). Which is less time than I thought, but ends up being 30 of 41 Sharks home games (that's really good).

    Plus all the times where Sharks are home and Barracuda are in Stockton (2 hours away) or like Sharks in Vegas, Barracuda home. But there’s no linkage between things like “Sharks in LA, Barracuda in Ontario.”

    Basically, the "ease of call-ups" for San Jose is at the mercy of "where are we and where are they?" when they need a call-up. Which cannot be controlled.
     
  15. BKIslandersFan

    BKIslandersFan Registered User

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    True, but at least it will be easier for scouts to go and watch the prospects play at home.
     
  16. AdmiralsFan24

    AdmiralsFan24 Registered User

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    They could hire dedicated scouts to scout the home area. Coaches give reports on players all the time too.
     
  17. 93LEAFS

    93LEAFS Registered User

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    Most NHL scouts don't live in the city of the team they scout for. Most teams director of scouting and such are all over the place (Leafs Director of Player Personnel is based in London, Ontario and our head Amateur scout is based in Boston). Plus, AHL teams are monitored more by player development staff, not scouts.

    Scouting wise, it makes no sense for an NHL scout to be in like 80% of NHL teams locations. As an Isles fan, why would an NHL scout want to pay the premium of living in NYC (unless they absolutely love the city), so that they can drive to New England to scout college hockey. For most, it makes sense to live in scouting hubs (Southern Ontario, BC, Ann Arbour/Michigan, New England, Ottawa/Gatineau, etc).
     
  18. BKIslandersFan

    BKIslandersFan Registered User

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    True true true.

    But surely there is something to be said for having affiliate near the parent club considering they will play half the games there.
     
  19. 93LEAFS

    93LEAFS Registered User

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    Yeah, its good for marketing and developing a connection to a local team, it helps with call-ups and in extreme cases which probably isn't possible in most markets, it allows the AHL team access to the NHL teams world class facilities (only teams that close I can think of are Toronto, Winnipeg and Montreal).
     
  20. BKIslandersFan

    BKIslandersFan Registered User

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    San Jose
     
  21. 93LEAFS

    93LEAFS Registered User

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    Yea, forgot, a bunch of others are within short driving distance too. Not sure how many cities could allow their AHL affiliate to use the NHL rink like San Jose or Winnipeg, and how many can do what the Leafs and Habs did by being in a big enough Hockey market it made sense to build an AHL only rink for use.

    Thinking about it, LA and Ontario Reign are also very close (45 minute drive according to Google, although who knows how accurate that is given LA traffic).
     
  22. Fenway

    Fenway RIP Fugu Sponsor

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    Ontario even with LA traffic is a lot closer to Staples Center than Manchester, NH was for them :)
     
  23. Fenway

    Fenway RIP Fugu Sponsor

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    Another factor is direct or non-stop flights - Springfield uses the Hartford airport which has several daily non-stops to FLL and MIA. Utica to Vancouver is a major headache as is Edmonton/Bakersfield and Calgary/Stockton.

    The NHL really doesn't care about loyal AHL markets who suddenly wound up with ECHL teams but fans used to the AHL want nothing to do with the ECHL.
     
  24. jumptheshark

    jumptheshark Rebooting myself Sponsor

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    it is more complicated then just distance. Having your AHL team too close can over saturate the market and put the team further into the red. While in theory NHL fans will say "of course we would go watch our AHL prospects but in reality many fans would not for lots of different reason.

    Then there is the pressure cooker nhl cities--I will use my oilers as an example--having the AHL team close to the city when the team is sucking--no matter how good the AHL team is--a player gets called up--****s the bed and gets sent back down--the media and fans rip him--he has nowhere to hide to rebuild his confidence
     
  25. Fenway

    Fenway RIP Fugu Sponsor

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    The Bruins may have been the first team to try it when they launched the Boston Braves in the AHL in 1971-72.

    Boston Braves (AHL) - Wikipedia

    Many games were broadcast on both radio and TV with many sellouts at the Garden, but it fell apart the following year when the Whalers were born.
     

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