Calgary’s’ relationship with the city of Abbotsford reached an abrupt end on Tuesday, as the city announced it was buying the Flames’ AHL affiliate out of the remaining five years of their 10-year deal.
Here’s more, from CBC:
Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman joined CEO of the Calgary Flames, Ken King, and president of Abbotsford Heat, Ryan Walter, at the announcement on Tuesday morning.
Banman said in total the contract with the team has cost the city more than $12 million since 2009, when then-mayor George Peary signed a ten-year deal with the Heat to guarantee $5.7 million a year in revenue.
The Heat has had a tough time filling the city-owned 7,000-seat Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre and faced major hurdles winning fans, including a lack of local interest — as most AHL franchises are located in the east — and the team’s affiliation with the Calgary Flames, a rival of the Vancouver Canucks.
With the team pulling in around 2,000 fewer fans per game than the minor hockey league average, taxpayers in Abbotsford have covered $7.2 million in losses in five years, plus the costs associated with owning and running the stadium.
The Heat are currently in the midst of the Calder Cup playoffs — they’ll begin an opening-round series in San Antonio on Thursday — and are planning to leave Abbotsford following the end of the postseason.
No word yet on where Calgary plans to relocate the team, though reports suggest it could be on the way to Glens Falls, New York.
Kyle Turris is gearing up for his fifth season with the Ottawa Senators, but this campaign will be a little different.
Ottawa announced that Turris will be joining Chris Neil as one of the team’s alternate captains. Turris is assuming that role from Chris Phillips as the 37-year-old defenseman remains out indefinitely due to a back injury.
Since being acquired from the then Phoenix Coyotes in 2011, Turris has established himself as one of Ottawa’s top forwards. He tied for second in the team’s scoring race last season with 64 points in 82 contests and gelled with rookie linemate Mark Stone.
With the Senators favoring a youth movement, Turris actually stands out as one of the Senators’ more experienced players at the age of 26. He’s also set to play a big role with the Senators for years to come as he’s locked to an affordable $3.5 million annual cap hit through 2017-18.
Meanwhile defenseman Erik Karlsson is getting ready for his second season as the team’s captain.
On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.
Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.
The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.
There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.
Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.