Utica Comets May Leave at the End of 2018/ 2019 Season

Discussion in 'The AHL' started by canuckfan75, Oct 12, 2018.

  1. canuckfan75

    canuckfan75 Registered User

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  2. Nightsquad

    Nightsquad Registered User

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    It wouldnt surprise me to see them move their franchise west. Utica is in good position to retain hockey but more likely at the ECHL level. Unless the Rangers leave Hartford after this season there just isnt the too many available AHL organizations nearby to affiliate with.
     
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  3. Centrum Hockey

    Centrum Hockey Registered User

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    Andrews said in interviews that the league wants a team in Hartford. It’s one of the markets that The ahl whould fight for
     
  4. Nightsquad

    Nightsquad Registered User

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    He might have said that but how many times have executives have said one thing, then done another. I get Hartford is an anchor market (near Springfield, Providence, and Bridgeport) but until the business end of the Hartford Civic Center (XL) is squared away anything is possible.
     
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  5. Centrum Hockey

    Centrum Hockey Registered User

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    I believe he also said Manchester NH was an echl market and the league had no interest in ever returning there dispite good attendance numbers Manchester Monarchs [AHL] yearly attendance at hockeydb.com the ahl does not usually take fan support into account when making decisions Utica Support of their team may not matter to the ahl when it comes to getting another team in the ahl
     
  6. LadyStanley

    LadyStanley RIP Fugu

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    Reno is a possible home. ~4 hours from San Jose and ~3 from Stockton (by bus).

    New ice rink coming to south Reno

    New ice rink approved this summer.


    But would it be large enough for an AHL team's fans?
     
  7. Centrum Hockey

    Centrum Hockey Registered User

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  8. Nightsquad

    Nightsquad Registered User

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    I thought the ECHL was already eyeing Reno? I know the arena upgrade plans were at one time being done for an ECHL club.
     
  9. LadyStanley

    LadyStanley RIP Fugu

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    And most of those renovations were removed and sold to pay for debts the bankrupt team left in the middle of the season.

    And in what would be considered Barracuda territory.

    And nothing has come of it for like a decade.
     
  10. Tater Tot

    Tater Tot Registered User

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    "the ahl does not usually take fan support into account when making decisions"

    It doesn't really matter what the AHL wants to do. If the NHL parent club wants to move their team, they will. The AHL is just a puppet of the NHL and will do what they are told.
     
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  11. royals119

    royals119 Registered User Sponsor

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    According to the article, it was approved pending the funding, so it may not even happen. They have $3million in commitments for a $9.5million budget, so there is still a long way to go. They are looking for private or corporate donations, not government funding. The renderings with the article are for a community rink for kids, not for a professional team. They do mention a second phase that would cost $15million. It doesn't say whether that is just additional rec rinks or an actual arena, but it doesn't sound like enough money for an arena. I would guess just an addition with a second ice sheet and maybe a fitness center, snack bar, indoor soccer or other facilities.
     
  12. UticaHockey

    UticaHockey Registered User

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    Here is what I believe will happen and I have no insider information to back it up. But the people in Utica with "insider information" have either claimed that 1) an extension with Vancouver was signed last year, 2) the Canucks are leaving but the Rangers are moving in, 3) the Canucks are leaving but the Islanders are moving in. Well none of those rumors were true.

    I believe that Vancouver will sign the extension under the terms that have been reported which is a six year contract with the first three years guaranteed. I do believe that the Canucks want to have their AHL team in BC closer to Vancouver but they don't want to be on an island so far from the rest of the AHL Pacific division. The three years guaranteed is just about the right time frame to see if the Seattle NHL expansion goes through and if they will own and operate their AHL farm team in the Pacific Northwest. If they do then the Canucks will pull out of Utica and place a second AHL team in the same regional area. If Seattle follows the Vegas lead and doesn't elect to own their AHL team and hooks up with an exiting independently owned AHL team then the Canucks may stay in Utica for the full six years.

    People have been predicting that Vancouver would pull out of Utica each and every year for the past five years and the only thing that we know for certain is Vancouver is conservative about making any abrupt changes. They have shown that they value close proximity to other AHL teams over close proximity to Vancouver for easy call ups.
     
  13. Centrum Hockey

    Centrum Hockey Registered User

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    Are you sure proximity matters to the nhl teams LA and San Jose admitted their prospects spend far more time in hotels and traveling Now then they did in New England
     
  14. LadyStanley

    LadyStanley RIP Fugu

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    But they only play 68 games, and do get more practice time in. Anaheim also have their kids close for call up as well.

    While travel time is more than New England, having their kids close to NHL team is a plus.
     
  15. zetastrike

    zetastrike Registered User

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    How can the Canucks guarantee bringing in another AHL franchise to replace the current Comets if they pull out? If every other team is fine as is, they can't force another NHL team to pull their current affiliate and put it in Utica, can They? I don't think an NHL team would let themselves be beholden to a minor league organization like that.
     
  16. UticaHockey

    UticaHockey Registered User

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    That is not what I am saying. Vancouver would be guaranteed to stay for three years. It is essentially an extension of the current agreement that ends this year. Vancouver agreed to guarantee to stay the first three years of the six year deal. Obviously they stayed the full six years. New York State pumped over $10M in renovations to the Aud after the contract was signed with Vancouver which they were not going to do without the first three being guaranteed.

    Here is an article out of Vancouver that mentions the option of renewing the six year agreement with the first three guaranteed. Yes I am fully aware that multi year AHL agreements get broken all the time but it always depends on the terms of the agreement and how options to leave early are written into them.

    Future of Canucks’ affiliation with Utica Comets still under consideration
     
  17. Growler

    Growler Registered User

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    Utica is a good hockey town, but a small/old rink. But ideal for the ECHL. And I can certainly see why the Canucks want to move it west. Vancouver should move their AHL franchise to...Vancouver.
     
  18. Growler

    Growler Registered User

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    But if Vancouver moves their franchise west, and Seattle starts a new one in Washington, then the western conference will have plenty of company.
     
  19. n00bxQb

    n00bxQb Registered User

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    Utica seems like a good fit over the past several years, but Abbotsford has an AHL arena sitting vacant an hour away from Vancouver.
     
  20. Nightsquad

    Nightsquad Registered User

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    I see more availability in an ECHL team then the AHL. That will be the challenge for Utica in finding a replacement "IF" Vancouver decides to relocate closer to home.

    I heard the NHL locating their AHL clubs closer to home is not over. Talks down south suggest that Tampa could be looking for closer AHL market. Ironically Stockton supported the ECHL better then the Stockton Heat of the AHL so Calgary may be looking elsewhere. The availability of AHL teams, especially in northeast will only be as good as nearby NHL clubs who have a need for a place to locate the team, in other words a tight market.

    The ECHL is doing a good job at strategically growing itself, and with roughly how many NHL clubs (few or so?) who do not currently have an ECHL affiliate, I think this gives a good matket like Utica an opportunity to maintain professional hockey. A solid ECHL club is really fun to watch, there isn't this dramatic drop off in quality. Guys getting more tired due to more on ice time, more run and gun style hockey, and slightly more physicality might appeal to many hockey fans in traditional old time markets like Utica. Utica, Glens Falls, Portland, and Worcester all would make a nice old school division in the ECHL lol.
     
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  21. PCSPounder

    PCSPounder Stadium Groupie

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    It’s probable that a contract with a 3-year guarantee will fit into any possible Vancouver-Seattle partnership on a Northwest AHL coupling. That depends on how much a possible NHL labor issue affects working up NHL Seattle.
     
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  22. Growler

    Growler Registered User

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    I agree, as clubs like Toronto, Winnipeg, Montreal etc. show, the AHL and the NHL clubs really need to be within 2 hours driving of each other. Clubs can do themselves a big favor by having that e.g. the Gagner Vancouver situation, or for attracting European free agents to big cities, having training staff shared across the clubs etc. etc. etc.

    It creates a real opportunity for the ECHL to back-fill the vacant AHL cities with arguably more entertaining hockey to watch.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
  23. go comets

    go comets Registered User

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    it would not make any sense for the Canucks to move until the Seattle team figures out their AHL location. I could however, see either Edmonton or Calgary trying to get closer to home with their AHL team.

    As far as the extension, The Canucks will wait till the last moment to try and get the most $$$ out of Utica, its the way the game is played. They did the same thing on the original agreement. whatever the agreement is it will be loaded with outs for the canucks anyway. these agreements are not worth the paper they are written on.

    I could also see just a 2-year agreement with extensions built it.

    I do not think Utica could attract either the Rangers or Islanders to put a team here. and I believe the ownership group has already said its AHL or nothing. They are not interested in an ECHL team.
     
  24. Nightsquad

    Nightsquad Registered User

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    Ownership group, I thought nobody local (Esche) actually owns the frnachise? I thought it was owned by Vancouver, and a local management group was in place?

    I would think if an opportunity cane about for Utica to have an ECHL club instead of nothing it wouldn't be overlooked. We arent talking the UHL or the old Colonial Hockey League. We are talking a professional league where the only difference in product is that more of the AHL players are at the NHL's door any minute. The ECHL is well supported in big cities, major league cities (Orlando, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, etc). There isnt one ECHL arena that is smaller or more modern then Utica's.

    This isn't a knock on Utica just to be clear. Its proven to be a loyal market, Esche has done a bang up job. What was a tuna can arena has been made amazing, solid job. Utica though depends on professional hockey, its a big piece in their economic revitalization puzzle. I am sure they dont want to loose that piece.
     
  25. go comets

    go comets Registered User

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    Vancouver does own the team. But Esche and MV Gardens pay the Canucks an affiliation fee which they negotiate.

    When the Canucks were negotiating on the original agreement, the Canucks wanted X amount of dollars. Esche and his group pushed the pencil and they actually sent an Email to the Canucks telling them that the numbers did not work and they would not be able to do the contract and the deal was off... Esche said it was the hardest letter he had ever written. The Canucks called the following morning and said they were coming to Utica anyways.....
     

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