— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) March 30, 2013
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.