When the dust settled after the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg, and the Moose moved to Newfoundland, the Chicago Wolves were without a parent club.
Today, it was officially announced that the Vancouver Canucks will be the NHL affiliate for the Wolves this season.
Our friend the Wolfkeeper was nice enough to answer a few questions about how the future of the Wolves is looking to the locals south of the border.
AR: Personally, do you like the new affiliation? Is there a team that’s looking that you would have rather partnered with?
WK: I would have preferred the Blackhawks simply from an emotional standpoint. They were my first love of any professional sport. I never quit being a Hawks fan even in the lousy years, and think the two teams could really benefit from each other.
Having given it a lot of thought the past week, I am looking forward to a Vancouver affiliation. They in fact were a team I followed pretty regularly the past few years, simply because I enjoyed Jim Hughson’s calling of games and the Canucks were usually the late game on Center Ice. I was pretty impressed with the Moose the past few seasons, and hope that can be replicated here.
AR: How do you think the day-to-day operation of the Wolves will be different with the new club? The Thrashers seemed very hands-off.
WK: I’m not sure they were that “hands-off” as some believe. Rarely did a home game go by where I didn’t see someone from Atlanta’s staff at the arena: scouts, GM or assistant GM, etc. Personally, I hope the Wolves and Canucks can agree on a coach, or allow the Canucks to bring in their own head and assistant coaches.
AR: Do you think Rosemont will still be a haven for 4A players like Haydar and Krog, or do you think that the youth movement will be front and center?
WK: I think so, although not as many in the past. For now I’m going to assume they’ll follow the blueprint they had with the Moose, which included some independent signings. I’m of the opinion that a balance can be struck between veterans and prospects alike in the nightly lineup.
AR: Do you think people will get past the whole ‘Helping Vancouver’ stigma?
WK: I know many Wolves season ticket holders, and they fall into three camps: those that could care less who we’re affiliated with, those that are already set to buy their first Vancouver sweaters having burned their Atlanta goods, and those that are Hawks fans as well. Amazingly enough, I know a few Hawk fans that are fine with it (and they’re Hawks STHs as well.) I really don’t think it will affect the Wolves at the gate. The big crowds are on weekends and are full of people looking for a night out at a hockey game, and I’m pretty sure 99% of them couldn’t tell you who the Wolves are affiliated with or if a player has an AHL or NHL contract.