Monday, March 28, 2005

AHL Grows With New Franchise

The Calgary Flames have decided that they should get their own farm club team up and running since the Saint John Flames, once a American Hockey League (AHL) Calder Cup winning franchise, folded back in 2003. Since then, they have been crowding the Lowell Lock Monsters with their talented prospects.

The Flames chose Omaha, Nebraska as their new home for an AHL franchise team. Despite the lack of instant inspiration towards the idea of a hockey team in America's heartland, the city of Omaha does have a hockey history to fall back on. The Omaha Knights were participants of the old American Hockey Association (AHA) in 1939 and resurfaced in the International Hockey League (IHL) in 1959 and also competed in the Central Hockey League 1968 through 1975. There has been no word yet of what they will call this new franchise, but you can't rule out that the Knights may return!

From an AHL perspective, this is a great move! The central American territory has been dominated by the Central Hockey League featuring teams all over Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. To get into the Central time zone to bring a strong professional style of hockey will now bridge the gap from all of the east coast heavy franchises and west coast franchises. In their 70th season, the AHL will help with bringing Iowa and Peoria also into the fold.
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