The Calgary Flames may be moving their AHL affiliate once again.
Don Laible of the Utica Observer-Dispatch reports the Abbotsford Heat will be moving to Utica, NY next season and signing a 10-year affiliation deal with the city. Utica hasn’t been the home to an AHL team since 1993 when the New Jersey Devils moved their farm team to Albany and became the wonderfully named (and defunct) River Rats.
The Flames’ history in picking locations to have their minor league team succeed have been dubious to say the least.
Their current location in Abbotsford, B.C. has been a money-losing venture and the team has also failed in Omaha, Nebraska and the Quad Cities in Illinois over the last eight years. Making matters worse, the Heat have the fifth-lowest attendance in the AHL this season.
“We have been approached by representatives in Utica concerning an opportunity for the AHL. We understand they are building a case for the AHL to return there. We are under contract and committed to Abbotsford, and have made no alternate commitments.”