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Treliving: Development key in AHL move to Stockton

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

I think if you look at it from the pure product standpoint and the general manager standpoint, we can’t highlight as eloquently as we should how important this is from a development standpoint.Brad Treliving

CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames are moving their prospects a little closer to home.

American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced Thursday that the league’s Board of Governors has approved the steps to create a Pacific Division within the AHL beginning with the 2015-16 season.

The Flames will be a part of that Pacific Division in relocating the franchise in Glens Falls, NY to Stockton, California.

“It’s really remarkable when we talk about the growth of the sport within this state,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said at a press conference in San Jose on Thursday. “I think if you look at it from the pure product standpoint and the general manager standpoint, we can’t highlight as eloquently as we should how important this is from a development standpoint.”

Next fall, the Flames’ AHL affiliate will be based closer to Calgary.

It’s a move highly motivated by development, Treliving admitted.

“This is a pure development league,” he said. “You look at the future NHL players honing their craft in this league. That was the biggest thing for us is how can we get a better development model.

“I can tell you from having a team on the East coast it’s been an excellent market for us, but those cross-country flights, dealing with the different time zone -- when you play a game on a Friday night, need a guy on Saturday -- there’s challenges involved with it. There’s a lot of challenges and I think for a number of years now the West coast teams, the real priority for this is there a better way for the teams in the West to develop players.”

Joining the Flames in the new division will be AHL affiliates of the Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.

Full division alignments and schedule formats for the 2015-16 season will be determined by the Board of Governors at a later date.

“Now having that ability where players are more easily accessible, you need a guy, you’re in the same time zone, other things that I think over the course of the next little bit that will get more released when we talk about the schedule and some of the tweaks this division will have relative to player development, I applaud the GM’s for their foresight at really looking at how we can really make a better development model," Treliving said.

“On behalf of the Calgary Flames I applaud everybody’s work.”

The Flames relocated their AHL franchise from Abbotsford, BC to Glens Falls last summer.

Treliving didn’t overlook that community’s contribution to the Flames.

“As exciting as this is from a hockey standpoint, from a development standpoint, we do understand and recognize that there are markets today that are losing a team,” he said. “That’s a difficult thing. When people invest both financially and emotionally it’s a hard thing.”

“I do want to thank those people, the fans in Glens Falls, that have supported our team over the course of the year and we’re hopeful we can have a strong finish.”

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