CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames announced today that they have finalized agreements for the future of their newly acquired ECHL franchise in Stockton, CA and their current AHL team, operating in Glens Falls, NY.
Following Calgary’s purchase of the Stockton Thunder and the approval from both the ECHL and the AHL Board of Governors, the Flames have made a transfer of teams between the two leagues. Stockton will become the newest market in the American Hockey League and will operate as Calgary’s primary development affiliate. The Flames new ECHL franchise will relocate to Glens Falls beginning the 2015-16 season.
“We are excited that we have been able to structure agreements that allow us to secure both markets to play an important role in the development process of the Calgary Flames,” said Flames President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke. “Glens Falls has been a tremendous partner in the first season of our relationship and it was vital for us to maintain such a hockey rich environment for our prospects. At the same time, we have been able to move our AHL program closer to home on the west coast. In a short period, Stockton has become a very successful hockey market and we look forward to building on that success with the American Hockey League.”
The Adirondack community will be playing home to an extremely competitive and talented team as the ECHL franchise has advanced to the Kelly Cup Playoffs for eight-straight seasons, winning their first Western Conference championship and making their first trip to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2012-13. Nine players have moved on from the team to make their debut in the National Hockey League.
As the new home for the Flames AHL prospects, the City of Stockton has built a reputation as having one of the most passionate, loyal fan bases among hockey’s development leagues. Stockton led the ECHL in attendance for four consecutive years (2005-06 to 2008-09). Stockton has drawn an average of over 6,000 fans per game during their first nine seasons in the city.
The Flames AHL team will play in the Stockton Arena, which first opened on December 10, 2005 and has a capacity of 9,737 for hockey. The arena is located in the California Central Valley between Sacramento and Fresno, approximately 80 miles east of the Bay Area.