Flames to apply to move farm team

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:54 PM ET

DETROIT -- The Calgary Flames will soon formally apply to move their AHL team to Abbottsford, confirmed president Ken King on Thursday.

The Flames released Quad-Cities Sport Ventures group from its final three years of the affiliation contract between the clubs. The Quad City Flames AHL team has struggled financially in the two seasons based out of Moline, Ill.

King said, "Abbottsford is the most compelling opportunity. We're going to pursue that opportunity."

According to the Quad-City Times, the local group involved with the Flames lost more than US$4 million over the two seasons.

This season, the AHL squad has averaged just 2,876 through 31 of 40 home games, which ranks 28th in the league. The number needed to break even is 4,000.

Last season, average attendance was 3,532.

King, stipulating the importance of having a full-time team, said the Flames had to be proactive in relocating.

Abbottsford is in the process of completing a $65 million, 7,000-seat arena.

However, a move to the British Columbia city is not a done deal. The closest AHL team would be Winnipeg, so it's a good bet clubs -- especially in the Eastern U.S. -- won't support the move.

"I don't know if I would term it as resistance, but, because of the geography, they're going to need to be convinced," he said.

"I would not classify it as a risky move, but it's a bold move and I think it's a smart move."


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