WAVY-TV reports the end of the AHL in Norfolk may be coming to a close.
I’m not sure where to start on this subject. I went on about this yesterday for Puq, and I mentioned that the Ducks would need to buy a franchise. Ken Young wasn’t going to sell the team–at least he said that a few months ago. Anaheim’s intentions have been clear for sometime: bring their AHL team closer to Orange County so they can have quicker access to call-ups.
Ken Young and Joe Gregory needed to find an affiliate, and hope that the affiliate’s former team wanted to sell to Anaheim. Based on the report, it seems that this did not happen. Young had his hand forced, and the best option was for him to sell the team to the Ducks. Sometimes I think of Anaheim, a team with an “internal cap”, and then think about when they do things like buy another hockey team.
Where did this start? I want to squarely place all of my blame, anger, and fury on the hands on Tampa Bay Assistant General Manager Julien Brisebois. He knew, that during Norfolk’s record-setting 28-game win streak in 2012, that Tampa was leaving for Syracuse. Rumors circulated up and down and around, and then they were announced the day after the victory parade. Brisebois cited “travel” concerns. It’s not as if Steve Yzerman’s drafting and the hiring of Jon Cooper had anything to do with the team turning it around. Travel did.
Anaheim came down from Syracuse, and California is much farther away than Florida.
We’re back to travel, we’re back to the realization that the United States is actually kind of large you know and that sometimes you need airplanes to get there. Anaheim wants to move their players West, they want to do it in this AHL Pacific division which will largely be in California. Get ready for AHL affiliates of the Ducks, Sharks, and Kings play each other 16-17 times a year. Fans of the San Diego gulls will be sure to appreciate that.
The team moves and everyone forgets that there are people-actual people-with jobs that depend on the team. Instead, they are now left teetering on the brink, unsure of their future. It’s bigger than Norfolk: it’s Worcester, it’s Manchester, it’s Portland, it’s Oklahoma City–it’s going to be Utica and Glens Falls. All in the name of travel for players, when they really mean travel costs.
i have nothing against the people in San Diego, who want to watch reasonably priced hockey. They didn’t decide for this happen, they weren’t in charge. I have nothing against the players. Chris Wagner’s been an Admiral his entire professional career, his parents are big supporters, do you think he wants to leave? John Kurtz has been a great friend to the fans and has had his best success as a pro in Norfolk. They didn’t have anything to do with this, but the players know what to do. Jarrod Skalde, who has been around the world thanks to hockey, set up roots here for his family. Do you think he really wants to leave, except for a job at the next level? It’s management who is in charge of this, it’s NHL ownership who decides.
Now, hockey may still be here next year. According to that same report, the Oilers-owned Bakersfield Condors might be coming to the Scope. They’re an ECHL team. Well, that worked out pretty well the first time.
I try to be civil, here. I want to be profane but I am trying to be professional. The Hampton Roads/Norfolk Admirals franchise 26 years in Norfolk, owners of four championship banners, the longest win streak in North American hockey, and the producer of a bevy of NHL players could be gone. All because of greed, disguised as “travel concerns for players”.
I am a bit distraught at the fans who say things like “Great news!” or “Excited!” when they don’t realize what exactly is happening. It’s blind optimism, is what it is. So here we are. Norfolk’s AHL team is gone, ceasing control to an NHL team that is famously a “small-market”, and maybe replaced by an ECHL team owned by the Edmonton Oilers. How fun, the Oilers would still have to pay to fly an AHL call-up or reassignment 3,000 miles (allegedly to Bakersfield). Travel costs.