|Is Silly Season Closer Than You Think?|
It is Christmas break for the Allen Americans and while most players will be staying in the area a few of them have scattered to the winds. Quick trips to Kentucky, Minnesota, and the old standby for some of the single guys, Las Vegas, were in the plans. While it is quiet on the Allen Americans front what better topic to talk about than the upcoming "silly season." With the AHL expansion to the West Coast a foregone conclusion it is now just a matter of how teams align and when does it happen. How does it all impact Allen? With the recent announcement that Oklahoma City will not field an AHL team next year, they could very well move to the ECHL. A nice close rival for the Americans. If the San Jose Sharks have their AHL affiliate on the west coast rather than in Worcester it makes it easy for Allen to be the ECHL affiliate with the numerous nonstop flights from Dallas to the west coast.
The article below written by Scott Linesburgh who is a staff writer for Recordnet.com talks about another piece of the puzzle that will be part of silly season 2015. If the sentence at the end of this story is true some answers might be forthcoming very soon as ECHL franchises planning to move up to the AHL for the 2015-2016 season must file transfer papers in early January. Silly season may be upon us quicker than you think.
Possible hockey upgrade in Stockton's future
Calgary to buy franchise as part of western division in AHLBy Scott Linesburgh
Record Staff Writer
STOCKTON — A sale of the Stockton Thunder and it becoming part of a West Coast expansion into the American Hockey League could be a step closer toward becoming true.
Two prominent Canadian publications reported recently that the Thunder will be purchased by the Calgary Flames of the NHL and moved up to the AHL within two years as part of a new western division in the league considered the Triple-A of hockey. The Thunder is for sale and currently plays in the ECHL, and has long been part of speculation concerning a series of teams from the lower league to the AHL.
A story in the Edmonton Sun concerning the Edmonton Oilers' decision to drop Oklahoma City as its AHL team to move west said that the Flames are expected to buy the Thunder. The Oilers own Bakersfield, the Los Angeles Kings own the Ontario Reign, and the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks are likely candidates to buy AHL teams that would form a Western division.
Thunder owner Brad Rowbotham, who has owned the Thunder since 2010, put the team up for sale in September but has said little about the process. When asked about the Edmonton Sun’s story, he said he could not respond because of confidentiality agreements with potential buyers.
“I’m not free to comment on the process,” Rowbotham said.
According to the Calgary Herald, Flames president Ken King also declined to comment on the report, saying: “We are looking at a group of options.”
There has long been speculation about the Western NHL teams forming an AHL division closer to their home cities. The Flames, Oilers, Kings, Sharks and Ducks all have AHL affiliates in the eastern United States. The Flames own an affiliate in Adirondack, N.Y.
The move would save the NHL organizations time and money when it comes to transferring personnel to and from their top minor league affiliates. The Sharks' AHL team in Worcester, Massachusetts. is more than 3,000 miles away. For perspective, Honolulu is closer by 600 miles.
In September, ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna told The Record that he expected the AHL to expand to the West Coast.
“The only thing I know for certain is that NHL teams on the West Coast have made it clear they have a desire to have their AHL affiliates in the West,” McKenna said at the time. “We believe it will happen; however, the specific locations and times remain to be seen.”
To move up to the AHL for the 2015-16 season, the ECHL franchises would have to file transfer papers with the league in early January before the annual mid-season meetings on Jan. 20-21 in Orlando, Florida.
DID YOU KNOW: There have been a lot of "silly seasons" since the ECHL was established in 1988. The league is currently made up of 28 teams but there have been 80 different teams in the ECHL since 1988.