Some curious news out of the American Hockey League today involving one of the league’s most successful franchises. It is appears that the Winnipeg Jets are planning to pick up their American Hockey League affiliate from St. John’s, Newfoundland and relocate them to Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Though only in its second year of existence, St. John’s routinely sells out games and ranks sixth in the AHL in average attendence with 6,287 fans per home date. However, the team is also remotely located, and a far-cry from its parent club in Winnipeg.
Why this concerns Milwaukee is the divisional breakdown of the AHL. Currently, Milwaukee fits comfortably in the Midwest Division, with fellow logical local foes Grand Rapids, Chicago, Rockford and Iowa. With St. John’s moving potentially moving west to Thunder Bay, it would only make sense to move that franchise into the Western Conference, replacing it in the east with a whole host of potential options like Rochester, Charlotte, Utica or another franchise.
Then again, despite its remoteness, I would think that St. John’s would look pretty attractive to another struggling AHL franchise, especially after hosting the likely-to-be highly successful 2014 AHL All Star Classic. AHL franchise moving season is far from over, but it seems at least one big shake up will again occur. At the very worst, Milwaukee will likely be gaining a new foe a long bus ride or short flight away.
So Roundtable… Do you know the way to Thunder Bay?