The Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate isn’t going anywhere.
Despite reports on the West Coast that the Vancouver Canucks have earmarked Abbotsford as a potential landing spot if their farm team is forced out of the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Flames president Ken King insisted there’s no truth to speculation the team could move its minor-league club to Chilliwack.
The Flames’ affiliate — the Heat — has been based in Abbotsford for the past two campaigns, while Chilliwack is currently home to a Western Hockey League squad that is reportedly mulling a move to Victoria.
“That’s a non-starter,” King said. “We’re in Abbotsford happily, and staying there. We have a 10-year lease and we would not be interested or inclined to think about Chilliwack.
“There’s zero chance we’re going to Chilliwack.”
If an NHL franchise is relocated to Winnipeg, the Canucks will need to find a new home for the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. They’re apparently eying Abbotsford, which is only a one-hour drive from Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver.
The Flames affiliate has bounced between cities since leaving Saint John, N.B., after the 2002-03 season.
After postponing operations for one season, the Saint John Flames franchise was reborn in Nebraska as the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights. That lasted two years before the Flames sent their top prospects to Moline, Ill., for two seasons to suit up for the Quad City Flames before moving to B.C.’s Fraser Valley.