You may recall back in January when it was reported that the Winnipeg Jets were on the verge of moving their AHL affiliate from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Well, not so fast. Yesterday, it was announced that the IceCaps will remain the Jets’ farm team through the 2015-16 season.
From the Winnipeg Free Press:
The extension in St. John’s will do two things for the Jets.
In the short term, it will give a boost to the AHL organization there, whose ticket sales were lagging with the reality of the team’s departure at the end of the season coming closer. Every AHL regular-season and playoff game at Mile One Centre, the team’s home, has been sold out since the Jets moved the franchise there.
The other matter for the Jets is it will let them see how things are going to shake out with the expected shift of several AHL franchises for the 2015-16 season. No agreement has been finalized, but a move is underway by west-coast-based NHL clubs to have their affiliates near the west coast and as many as six teams could be playing in an AHL Pacific division by next fall.
Meanwhile, for hockey fans in Newfoundland, as the St. John’s Telegram writes, the deal gives the IceCaps “more time to work a deal and cozy up with another NHL partner.”