Traders fly coop for St. Albert

CAM MAXWELL, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

The Fort Saskatchewan Traders are on the move.

On Thursday the AJHL's board of governors voted to relocate the Traders to St. Albert, a city that had a franchise but watched it move to Spruce Grove in 2004.

Fort Saskatchewan has had its team since 1976 and ownership, led by Greg Parks, had asked to move back in January.

And AJHL president Craig Cripps said the league made sure everything was done properly.

"As a new president of the league, it was all new to me, so I wanted to collect as much information as possible, so we formed a special committee to a fact-finding mission for us," said Cripps.

The committee determined Fort Saskatchewan is a viable place to operate an AJHL club but Traders owners, who bought the team a year ago, got a plum deal from the City of St. Albert.

"They wanted to find the best economic deal for themselves and certainly the deal they have now with the City of St. Albert is an attractive financial package," said Cripps.

St. Albert now boasts the state-of-the-art Servus Credit Union, which seats 2,000 and is also home to the MacEwan Griffins of the ACAC.

"The building is fantastic and I believe they're going to change the name of the club, which is something I'd hoped they'd do because the Trader name certainly belongs in Fort Saskatchewan," said Cripps.

Getting a new name will have to be done sooner than later, or at least by the June 1 AJHL general meeting, when the league does all its scheduling for the next season.

"By that deadline, they'll have to have a name in place and their director in place," noted Cripps.

While the Traders' owners got what they wanted in a relatively quick fashion, don't expect teams to be shifting from city to city too easily or quickly in the future.

"One of the things that I'll be doing is strengthening our league from a bylaw perspective to make sure when teams do want to move that certain criteria have to be met and adhered to along the way," Cripps said.

PASSING TIME:

With the playoffs in full swing, some teams are awaiting their third-round opponents.

In the south, Camrose Kodiaks, who downed the Olds Grizzlys 4-1, will take on either Okotoks or Brooks.

Up north, Fort Saskatchewan is also resting, while Grande Prairie and Spruce Grove battle.

STAR STUDDED:

The league yesterday announced it's all-AJHL team and making it from the South Division were netminder Brad Eidsness of the Okotoks Oilers and his teammate Jesse Perrin on defence. In addition, Camrose blueliner Karl Stollery made the team, while up front two Calgary Canucks, Bennett Royer and Kyle Burton made it, as did Calgarian Mike Connolly of the Camrose Kodiaks.

Eidsness and Connolly also made the all-rookie squad.


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