A sale of the Rochester Americans could be the only reasonable affiliation option for the Rochester Americans. For the Rochester Americans to be successful at the box office they need to be successful on the ice which requires an NHL team to be dedicated to that happening. That’s something that the Florida Panthers were not as interested in.
The hot topic of the day is word from the D&C about NHL teams interested in buying the Amerks, one of those teams being the Buffalo Sabres. Kevin Oklobzija was on with John DiTullio and said he gives this 2-1 odds of happening.
There’s one obvious reasons that some people think this should happen, that being attendance. I could stand on every street corner and share facts but people still wouldn’t listen that over the past 10 years attendance increased with the Florida Panthers as an affiliate. Yes, a lot of people said they stopped going to games when the Sabres stopped being the affiliate but majority of those people often got free tickets. There would be a spike in attendance and for it to stay at a high level it’ll require a competitive team.
When speculation started swirling about Terry Pegula buying the Buffalo Sabres those stories were all denied and look how that ended up working out.
Besides the Panthers, what other option is there right now for an NHL affiliation? If the Atlanta Thrashers move to Winnipeg it’d make the Vancouver Canucks a possibility. If the Thrashers moved the Moose would have to move and there’s the possibility that they could just stay out West and stay with Vancouver. At this point though, nothing seems even close to being set in stone that they’ll move. The Ducks and Syracuse Crunch have had a rough season but appear to be working things out, likely because there aren’t other options. The Rangers/Hartford, Laughs/Marlies and even Canadiens/Bulldogs have been tossed out there as rumors but none of those teams seem to be moving.
There could be other teams with expiring affiliation agreements but what else could possibily make any sense besides the Buffalo Sabres? Ask anyone in Western New York and they’ll tell you no one. Ask many in the hockey world and they’ll say no one else.
The Amerks front office has been in contact all season with the American Hockey League and it could be reaching a point where there just aren’t any other options. I believe that Curt Styres would still love to win a championship but we have to wonder how much of an uphill battle he wants to continue. With Styres owning the Amerks the team has created partnerships with the Rochester business community that had soured under previous ownership. I’m sure the one thing he has heard often is that they should partner with the Sabres again.
Terry Pegula and Curt Styres are both dedicated businessmen with money and the desire to win. It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with. There just doesn’t seem to be any other options.