The official application to relocate the Calgary Flames American Hockey League affiliate to Abbotsford B.C. was filed today with the League head office in Springfield M.A.
The application is the latest step for an Abbotsford based investment group to bring the best possible brand of hockey to the City of Abbotsford’s new 7018 seat arena set to open at the
end of March. Subject to Board approval, play will commence for the start of the 2009 – 2010 season.
“The Abbotsford group presented a very compelling case that satisfied all the issues of importance to us,” said Calgary Flames President Ken King. “Playing in a Canadian market, in front of sophisticated hockey fans that understand the game, only one hour by air from Calgary, will enhance our player development program.”
“The AHL is an exciting brand of hockey to introduce to the hockey mad fans in the Fraser Valley,” said local ownership spokesman Lane Sweeting. “It is the best development league in the world, grooming players for the National Hockey League. Up to now fans on the west coast have not had the opportunity to enjoy this brand of hockey.”
“We are launching the website www.fraservalleyahl.com so fans can register early to indicate their interest in tickets,” added Sweeting. “This will be the Fraser Valley’s team. It will be an affordable way for fans to see great hockey with tickets priced between $15 to $36. We are also asking fans to submit their ideas for the team name through the website.”
Abbotsford Mayor George Peary stated “our new Entertainment and Sports Centre will be a state of the art facility. It will be one the premier buildings in the league. The Fraser Valley is hockey country and we are overdue to have this caliber of hockey in our region.”
Founded in 1936, the AHL is in its 73rd season. Last year more than six million fans attended AHL games across North America.
The AHL is the top professional developmental hockey league in the world. Eighty-four percent of the 2008-09 NHL players were graduates of the AHL.
NHL stars Miikka Kirpusoff (Calgary Flames), Jason Spezza (Ottawa Senators), Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils), and Daniel Briere (Buffalo Sabres) are among hundreds of current NHL players who honed their skills in the AHL.
The Calgary Flames have been a member of the National Hockey League since 1980 and will celebrate their 30th season with the 2009-010 campaign. During their tenure, the Flames played in the Stanley Cup Finals on three occasions, winning the championship in 1989.
The Calgary Flames will send their top young talent to the Fraser Valley to play and continue training on their AHL team.