The Edmonton Oilers announced today the American Hockey League Board of Governors has approved the relocation of the Oilers’ inactive AHL franchise from Edmonton, Alberta to Oklahoma City for the 2010-11 hockey season.
Oklahoma City will become the home of the Oilers’ primary affiliate, the proving ground for the franchise’s top draft choices and prospects. In operation since 1936, the AHL serves as the top developmental league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 84 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 6.5 million fans per season have attended AHL games across North American since 2001. The Oilers have been owners in the American Hockey League since 1982.
“We are thrilled with today’s announcement,” said Kevin Lowe, Edmonton Oilers President of Hockey Operations. “The Oilers have felt for some time now that Oklahoma City is the right fit for our American Hockey League franchise. There is a rich hockey history and tradition in Oklahoma City and we anticipate this partnership to be very successful.”
The yet-to-be-named team will begin play at the newly renovated Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City in early October. Renovations such as state-of-the-art scoreboard and sound system will be complimented by other improvements such as, terrace suites, exclusive lounge areas, a new locker room and workout area.
”This announcement is the culmination of hard work from all the groups involved in this process,” said Prodigal Hockey LLC owner Robert Funk Jr. “As a group, we’re pleased to be teaming with a franchise with the rich history and passionate fan base of the Edmonton Oilers. We look forward to providing Oklahoma City with outstanding entertainment as well as world class hockey.”
“I am proud to welcome Oklahoma City to the American Hockey League as we look ahead to our historic 75th season of play in 2010-11,” said AHL President and CEO David Andrews. “Oklahoma City has a rich hockey history and a terrific fan base, and will be an excellent fit with our 29 member cities across the U.S. and Canada. Fans in Oklahoma City can look forward to seeing intense competition, strong rivalries and the best young players in the world as they prepare for careers in the NHL.”
Edmonton Oilers hockey is presented in part by the Rexall Family of Pharmacies, Molson Canadian, ATB Financial, TELUS, Cenovus Energy and Ford.