The western AHL realignment is apparently beginning, as reports of the Norfolk Admirals to San Diego and the Oklahoma Barons to Bakersfield are surfacing.
It was announced last month that the Barons would cease operations in Oklahoma City, making the franchise available for a purchase and move. Under the scenario currently presented, the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL) would replace the Admirals at the Scope with Barons franchise moved to Bakersfield. And if reports are correct, the Anaheim Ducks would buy the Admirals and move the team to San Diego.
As you’ll recall, last month AHL president and CEO David Andrews said the league needs to look at a westward realignment in response to West Coast NHL teams tired of East Coast AHL affiliates. The NHL may be a geographically distributed North American league, but the American Hockey League is not. From the PilotOnline:
Sources who spoke to The Virginian-Pilot, however, said the sale of the Admirals and move of the franchise to California is a near certainty.
Young said today that he has been in conversation with the Oilers and that “I feel certain that there will be hockey in Norfolk next year.”
The Oilers, sources said, are negotiating with Young to have him operate the ECHL team for them in Norfolk. Young’s group also owns and operates the Norfolk Tides baseball team.
This probably won’t be the only westward franchise shift in the AHL.