The news about the Amerks affiliate for next season may finally be on it’s way now that the lead domino appears to be staying put (the Phoenix Coyotes staying in Arizona). Lewis Staats told Kevin O the other day, “The key to what’s going to transpire appears to be if and when the NHL returns to Winnipeg. It seems that’s going to be the lead domino.”
(if you’re a die hard Amerks fan none of this will really be news, just wanted to put something out there)
There’s one more domino to take action and that’s the status of The Atlanta Thrashers. They are still for sale and could be the next team up for possible relocation. The group that owns the Thrashers could be willing to just take a check with a lot of zero’s at the end so they can move on. Winnipeg had their eyes set on snagging the Coyotes but with that situation resolved for now they’ll turn their eyes to Atlanta. I imagine the NHL will try and act quick to get that situation taken care of.
So, now what? The only person that really knows how things may play out is American Hockey League President Dave Andrews. He is the person that talks to AHL teams and gets to know what they want and need. He also talks to NHL teams who share with him what they want and what they’re willing to do for an AHL team. At that point he plays matchmaker to set everyone up and hope everyone is happy.
Dave Andrews has been saying for a couple of months now that the once those situations were settled that affiliation talks would be put into motion. It’s been discussed that as many as 5-10 affiliations could be up for grabs. It’s happened in the past where AHL/NHL teams have change affiliations at once, one team moves somewhere else, another team moves there, another team over here.
The question on many minds is, “what about the Buffalo Sabres?” They have an agreement with Portland and everyone has said “everyone is happy.” Even if things weren’t going well no one would be saying anything. The only two teams in the AHL that seem to speak their minds when they’re unhappy are the Rochester Americans and Syracuse Crunch, two teams with passionate ownership desperate to get back to winning.
The one thing that still seems certain is that the Rochester Americans and Florida Panthers don’t want anything to do with each other and with both sides having valid reasons.
To sum up everything above, we know as much now as we did back in December. Once ANY news about the affiliation is known or leaked you can bet it’ll be all over the place. The fact that nothing has made its way out of Blue Cross Arena likely means that the Amerks really don’t know anything as of right now.
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