(August 9, 2004) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Monday that their American Hockey League (AHL) franchise, the St. John's Maple Leafs, will relocate to Toronto starting in 2005-06 when their affiliate agreement with the City of St. John's expires in 2005. The AHL Board of Governors has unanimously approved the team's relocation.
"We see this as an opportunity to move our AHL franchise closer to our NHL team, which will enable us to better develop and monitor our young and talented players. We're excited to bring Leafs AHL hockey to Toronto, so hockey fans can see our team's future players compete," said John Ferguson, general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"The City of St. John's has been a very good home for our AHL team for the past 13 seasons, making the decision to move a difficult one. We would like to thank the City of St. John's, Mayor Andy Wells, Glenn Stanford, Keith Coombs, the employees of the St. John's Maple Leafs and especially the fans for their tremendous and continuing support. We look forward to making the coming season an exciting one."
The lack of proximate AHL rivals in the Maritimes and the unusually difficult travel schedule were factors behind the decision to relocate the team. A decision on the team's Toronto-based home arena has not been made.