The big news of the day on Tuesday was that the Amerks hired Ted Nolan as the new VP of Hockey Operations. I had the chance to talk to Rochester Americans Owner Curt Styres about a few other things that I felt were newsworthy.
The team did formally submit a bid for the 2011 AHL All Star Classic to be hosted in Rochester, something I first mentioned January 28th. Styres was not sure if any other teams had put in a bid for the game. The game in 2011 will be the 75th Anniversary of the league so American Hockey League President David Andrews had hinted that he was hoping to have the game be in either Hershey or Rochester. Styres said that at a recent Board of Governors meeting Andrews asked if anyone wanted to host the game and then looked directly at Styres.
The Rochester Americans and Syracuse Crunch will be in different divisions next season. He said that he believes the teams will be playing each other eight times, down from 12 during the 2008/2009 season.
Styres did not have any other information about divisions or schedule formats. It sounds like the schedule is pretty much set as he did say that all of the road trips are already planned out.
Jody Gage had recently put together a list of how he thought the divisions should be aligned. Styres and Staats agreed with it and presented it to the Board of Governors. They said no. For the Amerks to rejoin the Eastern Conference the league will need a few more western teams.
I first mentioned this on May 9th and now it’s official, the Amerks will be the opponent of the Portland Pirates for at least one of the games at HSBC Arena in Buffalo this fall. Styres said that they’d be playing the Pirates in both games. When asked if that meant one less home game at Blue Cross Arena he was not really sure. Either way it will be interesting to see what kind of reaction the Amerks get in Buffalo.
One thing that will happen is people talking about the Amerks and Buffalo Sabres becoming affiliated again after the 2010/2011 seasons. The Amerks signed a three year agreement with the Panthers and the Sabres did the same thing with the Pirates.
Construction on the new Amerks Hall of Fame at Blue Cross Arena has not started and there is no time line set. They’re still working on sponsorship for the Hall of Fame. I imagine this will be one of those things that Ted Nolan gets to work on.
Recognition Experts has vacated the building from the team store. Styres said that the new company that will be handling merchandise will be transforming the store to have either all Amerks merchandise or all Knighthawks depending on who is playing.
And the last item being the topic of Jon Mirasty in an Amerks uniform. Styres said that people he knows are great friends with Mirasty. He said that the player he would love to have on the team would be able to score 20 goals and also handle the role of a fighter. Someone to play the role and the game. Very few players exist like that.
Prior to Jacques Martin accepting the job as head coach with the Montreal Canadiens he had been working with Curt Styres and Lewis Staats on the future of the affiliation. After he accepted the position Jacques Martin called Styres to wish him the best of luck and enjoyed working together. Styres was impressed that Martin took the time to place that call.