Following today’s Board of Governors meeting, the American Hockey League officially announced Minnesota’s affiliate, the Houston Aeros, would be moving to Iowa and that Peoria — formerly St. Louis’ affiliate — had been purchased by Vancouver.
As PHT mentioned earlier, the Wild will move the team to Des Moines (where they’ll be known as the Iowa Wild), ending a 12-year relationship with Houston.
It’s believed an issue with the Toyota Center — where the Aeros currently reside — played a role in the decision, as arena operators figured they could make more money “hosting concerts and other events” rather than AHL games, and planned on raising the Wild’s rent.
The move to Des Moines will mark the return of American League hockey to Iowa for the first time since 2009, when the Chops served as Anaheim’s minor-league affiliate.
News of Vancouver’s purchase of Peoria broke in early April, with the AHL making the sale official on Thursday.
“The purchase of the Peoria Rivermen franchise allows Canucks Sports & Entertainment to assume full control of their minor league development program,” the Canucks said in a press release. “No determination has been made relative to the operation of the franchise for the 2013.14 season.”
It’s been speculated the Canucks could move the Rivermen to Abbotsford, a Vancouver suburb currently home to Calgary’s AHL affiliate.
Abbotsford has struggled to attract fans to watch the Flames’ farm team in a pro-Canucks market, with one notable exception: when Vancouver’s AHL team from Chicago is in town.