What we’ve all been expecting.
Line up your goodbye tweets to your favorite Admirals (and Sharks and Monarchs and Barons and Flames) now, because the official news is coming. Wednesday, the AHL sent out a media advisory tweet about an announcement in San Jose concerning the 2015-16 season. If you’ve been following the news, you know the story. Five AHL teams with NHL Pacific Division affiliations will be moving their mostly eastern-based operations to California. Norfolk has been a keystone in all of this, with the sale of the Ads to Anaheim a move that set all of these plans in motion.
Manchester, Glens Falls, and Norfolk should see ECHL teams in their markets. Current affiliations will stay the same with the AFlames (now the Thunder?) and Monarchs, but the Admirals will be inheriting the Edmonton Oilers-owned Bakersfield Condors franchise. All of that is known, but I feel has to be reposted every time. The disappointing truth is here: Norfolk will once again be an ECHL town.
This is different than a simple AHL affiliation swap, this a new (old) league entirely. Fans in Norfolk will not likely see any of the Anaheim-era players again, save for PTOs like Marc Cantin and Jared Nightingale. Players fans have grown to love–Chris Wagner, Max Friberg, John Kurtz–will be moving to the entire side of the continent. If you’re those guys, what do you do with this news?
I’m sure they’ll be playing their best at a personal level to impress coaches and management for a possible NHL call-up. As an Admiral, does it matter? It’s an abstract concept where wins and losses don’t quite matter as much. Oklahoma City and Manchester sit atop their conferences, with very real championship aspirations. If you’re a last place Norfolk team, you can’t take any losses. Will that happen? Even though we’ve seen it happen before, it’s highly unlikely.
While they’re here we can hope for the best. It’s the only thing to do. I am tired of writing the same thoughts about something that will finally be official, that will give joy to people in San Diego and despair to Hampton Roads, something with a human cost that does not enter the mind of NHL social media managers asking you to watch press conferences on the official team app, something the AHL is trumpeting while acting like they didn’t know what they just did, that the league has hidden because of Robert’s Rules of Order (and the law), that they imposed in what has amounted to a pointless gag order in the information age, being disappointed about the ECHL coming in even though it’s not a disparagement of the league, the endless spin cycle, the fact that ultimately sports owners did this and their motto might as well be IDFWU (or anything that you do) unless it can bring me profits.
Jaycob Megna was added to the team today.