Moose, Canucks enter long-term agreement

KEN WIEBE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:00 AM ET

The Manitoba Moose and Vancouver Canucks have gone back to the altar to renew their vows.

Moose governor Mark Chipman confirmed last night that the two sides have signed a multi-year extension that will see the Canucks continue as the primary affiliate.

"It's been agreed to for some time," said Chipman, whose club has been linked to the Canucks since June of 2001. "There's really no change (to the agreement itself). It became obvious to us that it was going to get done. It was just one of those things that didn't get pushed along aggressively by either side."

At the conclusion of the 2007-08 season, there was plenty of uncertainty surrounding the future of the agreement.

With a new general manager (Mike Gillis) in place, the Moose were a little unsure about how things would run, so they decided to play out the final season and see where things would go from there.

Grown stronger

Gillis impressed the Moose brass by flying in for some unscheduled meetings last summer and the relationship has grown stronger ever since.

Being able to continue to balance winning and development has been essential to the two sides getting along.

Another prominent factor is the relationship forged between Moose general manager Craig Heisinger and Canucks director of player personnel Lorne Henning.

In this space, we predicted the Canucks would face some competition for the affiliation with the Moose going forward once the agreement came to an end.

But since things have been going so well, the Moose figured there were no benefits to exploring other options at season's end.

"We're not really grass is greener kind of guys," said Chipman. "Things are fine right now. There's no need to make a change. It works for us and it works for them."

Gillis told a Vancouver radio station yesterday that the agreement had been extended and that he planned to utilize Manitoba's scouting staff more going forward.

ken.wiebe@sunmedia.ca


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