Calgary’s AHL affiliate parts ways with Abbotsford

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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.