Report: Canucks to Buy the Peoria Rivermen from the Blues

Thomas Drance
March 30 2013 12:00PM

So things appear to be happening pretty quickly on this front. After yesterday's news that the Blues had notified the Peoria arena where their AHL affiliate the Peoria Rivermen play that they'd be ceasing operations of their AHL club, Andy Strickland tweeted out the above news that the Canucks have bought St. Louis' AHL affiliate. 

Read on past the jump.

Andy Strickland followed up on his more definitive tweet with a report over at his TrueHockey.com site. In that report he cites "multiple sources" as confirming that "St. Louis has agreed to sell the franchise to the Vancouver Canucks." This comes as a bit of a surprise to me. I'd found Harrison Mooney's theory - that the Canucks would purchase the Abbotsford Heat directly - as more convincing than Mayenknecht's AHL affiliate Musical Chairs scenario.

But apparently talks between the Flames and the Canucks regarding a more direct purchase of the Abbotsford Heat fell apart recently. Per Strickland:

There was talk of Vancouver and Calgary having discussions regarding the potential sale of the Abbotsford Heat, the AHL affiliate of the Flames. Sources say those talks ended several days ago.

So Strickland's sources told him that talks between the Flames and the Canucks ended several days ago. That somewhat contradicts what Blues COO Bruce Affleck told Tom Eminian of the Peoria Junior Star a couple of weeks ago, namely that it was his understanding that talks between the two Western Canadian organizations had already gone nowhere and been abandoned.

Whether or not talks between the Flames and the Canucks regarding the possible sale of the Abbotsford Heat to the Canucks fell apart this week or the week prior doesn't really matter much for our purposes. What matters more is that we have multiple people on the record saying that talks between the Flames and the Canucks didn't bear fruit, and one relatively credible St. Louis based reporter saying that the Canucks purchase of the Rivermen from Tom Stillman and the St. Louis Blues is all but completed.

That's very interesting and it certainly looks like the gears are in motion to bring a Canucks owned and operated AHL affiliate to the lower mainland. But the big question of the Calgary Flames and their situation in Abbotsford still looms large on the horizon.

Now that there are multiple public reports out in the public sphere contending that talks between the two organizations fell apart, we'll have to wait and see how a possible staring contest between the Flames and the Canucks turns out. Needless to say we'll be watching this closely and with interest, especially because if Strickland's report is true, then the Canucks have made the first move.

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 Wetcoaster
March 30 2013, 12:05PM
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Could the Canucks move their AHL affiliate to Victoria if the Flames refuse to leave Abbotsford? A seaplane charter from Victoria straight to Downtown might even be quicker than a player driving in from Abbotsford, especially if traffic is bad.

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#2 Cam Charron
March 30 2013, 12:10PM
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If Andy Strickland told me the sun rose in the East, I'd wait until dawn before confirmation.

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#4 Cam Charron
March 30 2013, 12:27PM
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Thomas Drance wrote:

@camcharron I think I treated his report with due caution. To be fair his Blues stuff tends to he relatively reliable.

Reliable in the "relative" sense. The only other people I hear about from Missouri are my friend's racist cousins. I would trust Strickland against them.

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#5 Matt
March 30 2013, 12:35PM
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Wetcoaster wrote:

Could the Canucks move their AHL affiliate to Victoria if the Flames refuse to leave Abbotsford? A seaplane charter from Victoria straight to Downtown might even be quicker than a player driving in from Abbotsford, especially if traffic is bad.

I believe the Victoria Royals have a contract with the city/the arena that would prevent that from happening for the next couple of years.

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#6 KleptoKlown
March 30 2013, 01:28PM
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The Victoria Royals do play in the Save-On-Foods center in Victoria. That is the only arena that could house the potential Canucks AHL team in Victoria. I have no clue what the contracts are like between the Royals and city, but the team is fairly new (2-3 years) so I doubt relocating is an option.

Having the AHL team geographically close is definitely an ideal situation.

Kelowna, Kamloops, Nanaimo or Prince George are the cities in BC that come to mind outside of the GVA. Maybe even Washington for a few years until Seattle gets a NHL team and the Flames/Heat disappointment continues to grow?

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#7 Mack
March 30 2013, 02:22PM
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What about the Coliseum? Would be a deathblow to the Heat, and would probably lead to them leaving. I think the Giants could survive.

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