AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons to cease operations at end of season

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The Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL are ceasing operations at the end of the season.

Barons owner Bob Funk Jr. said in a release that the decision, which followed the team’s failure to complete a new affiliation agreement with the Edmonton Oilers, was “business-driven.”

“Without a more equitable financial agreement with economic terms to provide the best opportunity for sustained success, we can no longer justify additional investments in the operations without higher returns,” he said.

“We have the highest regard for the Edmonton Oilers organization and it has been a privilege serving as its primary development club.

“Even though we were not successful at completing an agreement, we have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the Edmonton Oilers’ management and coaching staff over the past five years.”

The Oilers released a statement of their own. It read in part, “The decision to move on from Oklahoma City, although not easy, will open new opportunities for the Oilers organization and our AHL business.”

So, where do the Oilers go from here? From TSN’s Darren Dreger:

The Barons are currently averaging just 3,219 fans per game, ranking near the bottom in AHL attendance.

Related: AHL could have new division in western U.S.