It has been two years since professional hockey was played in Prescott Valley, but the city feels that it could attract a new team by the 2017-2018 season.
Ever since the Arizona Sundogs folded in 2014, Prescott Valley Event Center has been without professional hockey. That has not been because of a lack of effort, however, as Prescott Valley made a run at the relocating Springfield Falcons before losing out to Tucson.
Once Tucson landed the Falcons, it meant that Prescott Valley would be left without hockey for the upcoming season, but arena officials feel that the 2017-2018 slate is a realistic target. More from the Daily Courier:
Event Center general manager Gary Spiker and his manager for business development, Satish “Catfish” Athelli, confirmed on Wednesday, July 20, that they are still hoping to house a major tenant for hockey in time for the 2017-18 campaign.
“This season was too soon to accomplish bringing back minor-league hockey,” Athelli said after he and Arizona State University hockey coach Greg Powers announced that the Desert Hockey Classic, a four-team NCAA Division I tournament, will be played at the event center Dec. 30 and 31.
Prescott Valley is open to either an AHL or ECHL franchise, and it would be jumping into a competitive landscape. While new markets for some relocating AHL teams are already established, there is also talk of expansion, which could have an implication on the league’s westward footprint. Based on what we have written, Prescott Valley would likely face competition from cities such as Fresno, Reno, and Salt Lake City.
The ECHL may also be in a state of flux. The league is playing at 27 teams in 2016-2017, but will add the Worchester Railers in 2017-2018, which is also when the Evansville/Owensboro franchise is expected to return from hiatus. Relocation talk has also been on the table, with a group of investors looking to bring a franchise to Portland, ME.
Ultimately, Prescott Valley will face its fair share of competition should it pursue an AHL or ECHL franchise. But with changes on the horizon in both leagues, it might be as good of a time as any for Prescott Valley to make its case.