Wednesday, June 08, 2005

AHL in Shambles with Franchise Fatalities

Ha! Gotcha Bloggers and Friends! First one to break this story!!

I know some other blogger friends broke the story and actually took the time to actually write about how Edmonton chose to suspend ties with the Roadrunners. Speculation was thrown around everywhere, but after a great reply on my friend Jes Golbez's blog, we've learned why the Oilers are killing their minor league team.

The larger issue here is the instability of the American Hockey League and the seemingly constant shifting of teams affiliations. Cincinnati, Worcester, St. John's, Utah... and the list of the "deceased" increases with the latest franchise fatality.
The San Antonio Rampage also suspended operations, leaving the Florida Panthers without an AHL partner. However, the Panthers are believed to be in discussion with the Toronto Marlies and Chicago Wolves for a shared arrangement as well.
For fans in those cities that have now lost their hockey team, I am truly sorry. It's not fair for a developmental league to have this much trouble keeping their teams and earning stability. For Hockey to grow, the NHL needs a league to send their blue chip prospects to hone their skills.

The AHL is in serious trouble after the controversy over "lending" players to other teams. I believe that completely destroyed the concept of one team developing their players with their system. Small market teams can now siphon off some of the money and attention from the more successful franchises. Plus, it cuts overhead for an operating budget. So, pretty soon, you're going to see an AHL for the "privileged" teams. However, things may toughen up after a collective bargaining agreement is reached allowing franchise owners to free up funds to improve their teams instead of it all going to salaries.

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