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AHL westward move concerns WHL officials

The move of the AHL’s Quad Cities Flames next season to British Columbia — probably merely the first of many — has WHL officials worried about their territories.
The move of the AHL’s Quad Cities Flames to Abbotsford, B.C. next season has WHL officials worried about their territories.

Because of travel considerations, it’s highly unlikely the Flames will be the only AHL team in western Canada or the Northwest in coming years. And the encroachment of the AHL on WHL turf concerns WHL Commissioner Ron Robison.

"We believe our respective leagues–the American Hockey League, the Western Hockey League or, for that matter, other leagues — should respect one another’s territory," Robison told the Calgary Herald. "If there are plans for relocation, we have to take into account what impact that would have on our respective leagues. We have stayed out of Winnipeg — despite many attractive offers over the years — out of respect for the Manitoba Moose ownership. So we’re trying to seek clarification from the American Hockey League."

On one level, there’s concern the emergence of an Abbotsford Flames team will negatively impact the attendance of the Chilliwack Bruins, co-owned by Glen Sather and Brian Burke, as about 20 percent of the team’s fans live in Abbotsford. On the other hand, the Calgarry Flames also own the Calgary Hitmen, the best-drawing team in the WHL. 

RELATED STORIES: Flames to Abbotsford; other AHL teams to follow?; Quad Cities Flames to Abbotsford

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