Despite some ongoing affiliation trends in the AHL, the Utica Comets are confident that they will continue their relationship with the Vancouver Canucks.
In recent years, there has been an influx of NHL teams looking to move their affiliates closer to their home cities. In the AHL alone, there has been an establishment of more teams along the west coast that has been spurred by the likes of the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, and the Arizona Coyotes. Meanwhile the St. John’s IceCaps and Binghamton Senators are both set to move prior to the 2017-18 season to be closer to their respective affiliates, the Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators.
Considering the distance between Utica, NY and Vancouver, it would seem that the arrangement between the Comets and Canucks could fall by the wayside. However, Comets officials are expressing optimism that the affiliation will be extended. More from the Observer-Dispatch:
Comets officials said Wednesday that they were working with the National Hockey League team on an extension to remain their American Hockey League affiliate. The Comets said they hope to have a deal completed before the end of this year. The Comets said they would not comment further on the situation Wednesday.
Earlier this week, Comets president Robert Esche told the Observer-Dispatch that the Comets and the Canucks have had “a remarkable relationship” during their affiliation, which began in June 2013. The Whitesboro native and former NHL goaltender told the O-D he felt the partnership would “go on for a long time,” despite a recent trend that has NHL teams moving their AHL affiliates closer to their home arenas.
The Comets and Canucks have been affiliated since the franchise was established in Utica in 2013.