OMAHA, Neb. (CP) - The Calgary Flames plan to move their American Hockey League affiliate from Omaha, Neb., to the Quad Cities, the NHL team said Thursday.
The transfer still needs approval from the American Hockey League's board of governors, who are scheduled to meet Friday, and the Illinois Quad City Center Authority.
The Ak-Sar-Ben Knights spent the past two seasons in Omaha but failed to plant any roots in the market. Ren Smith, president of Omaha Hockey Partnership, said the relocation was inevitable.
"Although our objective was to make AHL hockey viable in the Omaha market, it became evident in the face of mounting losses that it would be difficult for the Calgary Flames to move forward," he said.
The Quad Cities of Moline and Rock Island in Illinois and Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa are within 400 kilomtres of four AHL rivals (Peoria Rivermen, Chicago Wolves, Milwaukee Admirals and Iowa Stars). The team will play its home games at the Mark in Moline.
"We are very excited to welcome the Flames organization to the Quad Cities," QC Sports Ventures Inc. president Tim Taylor said in a statement. "Our fans have been very loyal to our organization and we are honoured to bring to them the American Hockey League."
Flames president and CEO Ken King said the franchise had rejected several relocation offers in recent months but that the move to Moline was too appealing for the team to pass.