AHL’s Pacific Division Growing in 2016-17?

Springfield Falcons
The Springfield Falcons’ 21-year AHL run appears to be over as the Arizona Coyotes will likely move the franchise to Tucson. Logo via Chris Creamer’s SportsLogos.net

There is an interesting report surfacing in recent days in regard to the Arizona Coyotes and the Springfield Falcons.

Last week ArizonaSports.com made it known that the Coyotes were interested in purchasing an AHL team and relocating them to Arizona to setup shop in Tucson. Arizona’s second largest city is just a short drive south of the Phoenix Metro area.

The initial ArizonaSports.com feature did not cite which team would be relocating, but a report on WWLP.com cited the Falcons as the likely party. This morning Falcons announced the news on their website, and it was reported on MassLive.com that team owner Charlie Pompea confirmed the news.

In August 2015 the Coyotes signed a three-year affiliation with the Falcons, who did not make the AHL playoffs this season. Previously Arizona had been affiliated with the Portland Pirates.

Springfield, Massachusetts has housed an AHL team nearly every year since 1936 and is currently home to the offices of the American Hockey League.

The potential Tucson team would join the Pacific Division per the ArizonaSports.com report. It would likely play its games at the Tucson Convention Center beginning as early as 2016-17, but that timetable is still to be resolved according to the MassLive.com report.

If Springfield to Tucson is the only offseason relocation for the AHL, my initial guess on how the divisions would shake out is this:  Charlotte would move out of the Central Division and into the Eastern Conference, while Tucson would slot into the newly formed Pacific Division. The Pacific Divison would then have eight teams and the Central would be left with seven.

The sale and move of the franchise is not yet official as it needs a final sign off by the American Hockey League’s Board of Governors.

So Roundtable . . . What do you think of year one of the AHL’s Pacific Division? Are you sad to see another longtime AHL city lose its team? What are your thoughts on the Admirals potentially playing Tucson in the future?

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4 thoughts on “AHL’s Pacific Division Growing in 2016-17?”

  1. I expect within a few years all the western NHL teams to have their affiliates out west. One benefit to it, maybe if there are more teams the league can go back to all teams playing the same number of games.

    Too bad for Springfield, though. It goes to show yet again how lucky we are to have an independent team with solid ownership.

  2. As I tweeted to the Coyotes yesterday “As if AZ doesn’t have enough losing hockey to digest”. It’s disappointing to see established teams continue to get uprooted and moved at the wimb of the parent club. So much shake up every year. With this move it better mean a return to everyone playing an equal amount of games! I know Springfield had struggled with attendance lately but it’s still unfortunate to see a team get moved.

  3. “Last week ArizonaSports.com made it known that the Coyotes were interested in purchasing an AHL team and relocating them to Arizona to setup shop in Tucson. Arizona’s second largest city is just a short drive south of the Phoenix Metro area.”

    I am sorry that Springfield is losing their team. Phoenix to Tucson is about 2 hours, similar to driving from Milwaukee to Chicago.

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