Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Heat is On! Calgary's AHL affiliate is coming to Glens Falls

On April 18th, 5,000 plus fans roared as the Adirondack Phantoms played their final game at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

At that point, it was unsure whether or not there would be hockey in Glens Falls come October.  Some speculation was made given the recent announcement that the Abbotsford Heat was terminating their contract with the city and leaving to a venue to be announced later, but it was still uncertain the Calgary Flames would choose the city of Glens Falls.

That uncertainty was absolved with the announcement that the AHL Board of Governors approved the move of the Abbotsford Heat from British Columbia to Glens Falls for the 2014-15 season.

"Glens Falls has had a terrific history with the American Hockey League," Flames General Manager Brad Treliving said in a press release, "and will be an ideal location and environment for the development of our prospects."

As the only team in the Pacific Time Zone, the Abbotsford Heat faced long travel schedules.  The nearest team for Abbotsford up until two years ago was in Winnipeg, well over a thousand miles away from Abbotsford, British Columbia.  The Manitoba Moose left for St. John's to make room for the NHL Winnipeg Jets, and with last year's move of the Houston Aeros to become the Iowa Wild in Des Moines, the nearest team became better than 1,500 miles from B.C..

Travel costs were amplified by the Heat only packing 3,000 into the Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre, which placed them next-to-last for attendance in the 2013-14 season.  Portland, who had the worst attendance of the 30 clubs, was playing their season in Lewiston, Maine due to renovations and then a contract dispute with the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland.

The move will allow the Flames affiliate more time on the ice practicing and less time on planes and in hotel rooms, which will reduce their expenses considerably.

The Heat made the Calder Cup Playoffs this year, but found themselves facing the Grand Rapids Griffins in the first round.  The Griffins, last year's Calder Cup champions, ended the Heat's tenure in Abbotsford with their game four series clinching victory in Grand Rapids, winning the best-of-five series 3-1.

A press conference will take place next week to formally introduce the city of Glens Falls to the Calgary Flames AHL affiliate.  The date and time has yet to be announced.

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