May 14 2013 12:50PM
KeyArena, possible AHL venue? (photo: paulyb/wikimedia commons)
As reported by the Vancouver Sun's Brad Ziemer, the Canucks have been granted an extended deadline to decide on what they are going to do with their AHL franchise.
Yesterday Drance picked up a Dave Eminian report on the strong possibility that the Canucks could allow their franchise to go dormant for the 2013-14 season, but the deadline extension is a new wrinkle to the story.
Read past the jump.
Ziemer spells out the two options available to the Canucks:
The Canucks really have two choices to make regarding the Peoria Rivermen franchise they purchased earlier this year. After deciding against leaving the team in Peoria for the 2013-14 season, they must either find a new home for the team or they can pay the AHL a $150,000 fee and have the league declare the franchise dormant for one year.
That latter option is the least palatable one for the Canucks as it would mean the team would have to scatter its prospects around the AHL and have them playing under a variety of different systems and coaches, outside their sphere of influence.
Given the infferred frustrations the Canucks had with the Chicago Wolves affiliation over the past two seasons, you'd figure the Canucks would far prefer to have a proper team in place for next season.
Zeimer also picked up some interesting quotes from Scott Arniel, who served as the Wolves' coach this past season.
"You know, these conversations started a while ago and it has gone everywhere from Abbotsford, to Rogers Arena, to Peoria. to who-knows-where," Arniel said in a phone interview Monday. "Obviously you want to get an answer soon and get organized. The players will have been in three different cities in three years -- the guys who were in Winnipeg and Chicago and now to a new city -- so you do want some stability that way. It's a tough decision, but I know the Canucks are working towards getting their own team somewhere and have a spot where they can groom their young players."
Arniel went on to say that he thinks "something is going to get done."
The option of having the AHL Canucks play at Rogers Arena or any other Lower Mainland arena is likely out of the question, as they are within the Heat's territorial limits, Ziemer noted.
From a business standpoint, putting the farm team in downtown Vancouver makes sense - it's another chance for Canucks Sports and Entertainment to draw money and in some ways, having a nearby, easy-to-travel-to rival might be appealing for the Heat. But you've got to believe that the Heat would fear losing a portion of their already-small fan base.
So, what are the options? Peoria is out, some have bandied about past AHL locales like Utica, NY. This morning, Wolves broadcaster Jason Shaver pondered on Twitter about Seattle:
Canucks have options...Seattle would be best location, close to home, travel partner w/ Heat. But until NBA determines Kings fate they wait.— Jason Shaver (@theshaves) May 14, 2013
KeyArena is a crap venue for NHL hockey (the rink pad is off-centre, leaving the scoreboard over one end, not centre ice), but for an AHL venue, selling just in the lower bowl, it could do ok...