While the reports and rumors about the imminent move of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, Manitoba continue to burn there’s the whole matter of figuring out what to do with the Vancouver Canucks AHL affiliate that currently calls Winnipeg home. The Manitoba Moose currently hold down a spot at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg and if the Thrashers are going to relocate to the Canadian prairie city, the Moose will need to be set loose.
According to a report in The Telegram out of Newfoundland, the Moose will indeed have a new home should the deal with the Thrashers get done.
Robin Short of The Telegram tells us that an old AHL haunt will once again be home to minor league hockey in extreme eastern Canada.
Six years after the Maple Leafs played their final American Hockey League game in St. John’s, the league is returning to the city for the 2011-12 hockey season.
The Telegram can confirm an announcement outlining the relocation of the Manitoba Moose franchise to Mile One Centre is set for 1 o’clock next Friday afternoon.
Ironically, the Maple Leafs franchise, which lasted 14 years at Memorial Stadium and Mile One, played its final game in Winnipeg on April 30, 2005, when the Moose eliminated St. John’s from the Calder Cup playoffs.
If you’ve never checked out a map of Canada, St. John’s is way out there northeast of Maine. Considering that the team could very well continue to be the affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks, that would make for one long haul to send guys up and down to the minor leagues. It’s about 4,000 miles between the two cities (depending how much faith you put into directions on Google Maps that is) and that could make things really awkward for the Canucks.
Luckily for them, there’s always a revolving door of affiliates each year in the AHL and it’s possible the Canucks could look to attach themselves with either the Chicago Wolves or Portland Pirates. Of course, this move is all contingent upon the deal with the Thrashers and True North getting done and having the team move to Winnipeg. Should that find a way to fall apart in the end, it’s possible the Moose just stay where they’re at. That possibility seems unlikely with the imminent sale of the Thrashers possibly concluding next week.
True North Sports and Entertainment who is looking to buy the Thrashers also own the AHL Moose. Should the deal to move them to St. John’s get done, they will then be selling the AHL team to local interests in Newfoundland thus making it a great deal for local interests there. All they’re waiting for now is the one big domino to fall in all this.