King quashes AHL rumour

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

Calgary Flames president Ken King denied a report the club is about to move its AHL affiliate to Abbotsford, B.C.

"We've had a lot of interest from different places," King said last night.

"We think Abbotsford is a great city, but we're still committed to Quad City."

The city of Abbotsford is slated to open a 7,000 seat arena in the spring of 2009, and efforts have been made to lure a minor pro franchise to begin playing there as early as the 2009-10 season.

Abbotsford businessman Lane Sweeting told the Abbotsford News the Quad City Flames, Calgary's AHL affiliate, is just one of the teams being pursued.

"We are pursuing the Calgary Flames, but our group is pursuing anybody who will listen to us. We have had discussions with the Calgary Flames, but there's no deal done," Sweeting said.

Abbotsford officials have been lobbying the AHL for a franchise for more than a year, despite their long distance from any other club in the feeder league.

The closest city is Winnipeg -- coincidentally, home to the farm team of the Vancouver Canucks.

The Flames relocated their affiliate to Quad City before the 2007-08 campaign, after two seasons in Omaha, Neb.

The move to the area on the Iowa-Illinois border hasn't been as successful as hoped.

The Quad City Flames rank 28th in the 29-team AHL with an average attendance of 2,718 fans per game through 14 of this season's 40 home games. Last season, they were 27th with an average of 3,523.

Kevin Murphy, one of four members of the Quad City Flames ownership group, told the Quad City Times the Flames and the local group have a five-year deal.

"They can't just pick up and dump us. There is a substantial cost for them," he said.


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