Pirates’ Petrovek: “Very real possibility” Coyotes affiliation could be terminated

And the saga continues.

After it came out earlier this week that the Portland Pirates and CCCC were heading to court and that court documents were already being filed, it appears the stakes have gotten even higher for Brian Petrovek and his Portland Pirates.

The Portland Press Herald has seen an affidavit, signed by Petrovek, that states the “there is a very real possibility that the Coyotes could terminate our relationship with them.”

While the plan was for the Pirates to head back to the Cumberland County Civic Center in January when the $34 million renovation was complete, if this fight drags on, the Pirates may be finding permanent residency for the 2013-14 season in the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.

The comments by Petrovek — which one could have assumed were coming — lend more to the possibility that the Pirates could be on the move after this season. Without an affiliation agreement, and with the distraction of this arena battle, would anyone be willing to run with their farm in Portland?

With Glens Falls making it abundantly clear they’re looking for a team to fill the place of the Adirondack Phantoms when they move to Allentown, it could be a possible landing place for the Pirates should they move.

One thing remains a certainty, however; the fans in Portland want to see their team play, and they hope this gets sorted out sooner rather than later.


AHL 14: What to expect from EA’s latest NHL game

Well, digital hockey fans, the day is finally here.

EA Sports officially released the newest instalment of its award winning video puck, and American Hockey Blog has had the privilege of having their hands on the game since early in the weekend. So, as our preview for you, we’re letting you know to expect when you fire up the game this season.

After EA’s initial update, you’ll see some shifts in the rosters, but nothing that changes the look of our beloved AHL. [Ed. Note: All ratings and rosters are as they appear in NHL 14.]

First, let’s talk a bit about the team ratings.

The first thing you’ll notice, for better or worse, is the lack of a clearly defined overall for each team, something that certainly saves EA a bit of a headache. However, the change to a star system makes the team ratings a bit muddled, with almost the whole league rated 3/5 stars.

Without further ado, the ratings: Continue reading

Adirondack celebrates 25 years and pushes for more

The Adirondack Phantoms unveiled a logo to commemorate the 25th season of the Adirondack region hosting the American Hockey League, but a cloud of uncertainty hung overhead.

Adirondack 25

The Phantoms will wear a jersey with this commemorative crest on Nov. 23 to celebrate 25 years of hockey in Adirondack.

At the end of this year, the Phantoms will be leaving Glens Falls, N.Y., for Allentown, P.A., a move that brings them closer to their parent club in Philadelphia. The move from Glens Falls to Allentown doesn’t come as much of a shock — for 14 years the Flyers kept their affiliate in the same city before the team left for Adirondack — but it does signal an unceremonious end to the quarter century of AHL hockey in the region. However, during a press conference today to unveil the celebratory logo, the mayor of Glens Falls,  Jack Diamond, made a point of saying the wheels were in motion for a team to return as soon as the 2014-15 season.

Diamond said the city jumped at the opportunity to bring the Phantoms to Glens Falls in 2009 — he said they “immediately reached out” upon hearing the team could be on the move — and it appears he’s prepared to do that if any AHL team becomes available.

“We anticipate some movement [of teams in the league],” said Diamond. “We want to make sure we get out ahead of that. We are dedicated and committed to bringing the AHL back to Glens Falls.”

Peter Aust, the President and CEO at Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce, added that he could, “almost assure [another team will be coming].”

The logo, designed by Glens Falls native Jesse Tyree of black dog DESIGNS, celebrates the city, the game, and the “rich history” of Adirondack in the AHL. The Phantoms will wear jerseys with the logo on Nov. 23, and fans who have bought a special ticket package will receive a pint glass with the logo.

But at the end of the day, while the logo is a nice touch, you’d have to imagine the fans would give it up for another year of hockey.

Wolves unveil anniversary logo, Pens don new threads

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Chicago Wolves will both have some new designs this season.

The Wolves, entering their 20th season in the Windy City, have unveiled an anniversary logo that will be Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 12.31.49 PMfront and center at Allstate Arena. The logo (pictured) isn’t a far cry from the current mark, but features the Roman numeral for twenty.

No changes have been made to the colour scheme, either. The Wolves will continue using the maroon and beige in the logo, colours that have been featured in the team’s pallet almost since the team’s inception in 1994.

It won’t just be the Wolves who have something new to show off, as the Penguins unveiled a new jersey set for the upcoming season.

The three jerseys — a white road jersey, dark home jersey, and gold alternate — aren’t a far cry from what the Penguins have worn in past seasons, but the alternate stands out. Using the gold colour that’s been a part of the colour scheme for the past fifteen years, the Penguins are also debuting a 15th anniversary logo, much in the same vein as the Wolves celebratory logo.

You can take a look at the new Penguins threads below:

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 12.32.30 PM

Telegram: IceCaps to host the 2014 All-Star Classic

The St. John’s Telegram is reporting that an announcement is coming tomorrow from the AHL and the St. John’s IceCaps to confirm their earlier report that the AHL All-Star Classic will take place in Newfoundland’s capital.

The Classic, which took place in Providence, R.I., last season, will be hosted at the Mile One Centre, seemingly between Feb. 10-13, 2014 when there’s a scheduled break in the schedule.

According to the Telegram, the league had initially said that an All-Star Classic in St. John’s hinged on the participation of the NHL in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. A deal for the NHL and its players to take place in the Olympics was reached soon after the lockout concluded.

An interesting note, however, is that the AHL has kicked around ideas of sending a team of AHL All-Stars over to Europe to potentially face off against one of the German or Swiss elite league teams.

The West All-Stars have won the last two contests, with an 8-7 shootout win in Atlantic City in 2012, and a 7-6 victory last season at Providence’s Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Vandermeer leaves AHL for NLA

After over a decade in North America, Jim Vandermeer is heading to Switzerland to suit up with Kloten of the Swiss NLA.

Vandermeer, who made his name in the NHL with his size and rough style of play, came to the pros with the Philadelphia Flyers. An undrafted free agent, Vandermeer is probably best remembered for his 2005-06 season, post lockout, with the Chicago Blackhawks. As an alternate captain with the ‘Hawks, Vandermeer tallied 24 points (6-18) on a mediocre Blackhawks squad.

Vandermeer also went on to take on alternate captain duties with the Edmonton Oilers in 2011-12, but only spent one more season in the NHL with the Sharks after his one-year stint with the Oilers.

After spending last season with the Wolves, Vandermeer joins former AHLer Martin Gerber in Kloten.


On The Bus: Devils host birthday bashes, Barons paint ice, and other news and notes

With the AHL season right around the corner, and rookie camp already underway, it’s time to get ready for another year of following the future stars of the National Hockey League in our favourite small towns. Below is a collection of links of some stories from around the AHL. If you have any tips, news, or notes you’d like to see, reach us at americanhockeyblog@gmail.com.

  • The Albany Devils have selected a couple season ticket holders to celebrate their birthdays with the team:
  • …and the Oklahoma City Barons are bringing a few fans along to help in the painting of the rink. [OKC Barons]
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins, and, in turn, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, are getting a look at some fresh blood between the pipes. [masslive.com]
  • Finally, the Adirondack Phantoms have given the following silhouette to try to pique your interest about the coming special logo unveiling on Monday:
    Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 5.56.45 PM


Divide between Pirates, CCCC grows larger

Chris Roy over at the Sun Journal has all your information on the current battle brewing between the Portland Pirates and the Cumberland County Civic Center. It seems as though this season for the Pirates won’t start without this extra bit of distraction.

Roy’s entire piece from Thursday can be read here: Pirates, CCCC headed for legal showdown

As Roy reports, the two sides continue to argue over what appears to be a spoken agreement on an extended lease that would keep the CCCC as the home of the Pirates for another five seasons. However, the formal agreement was unsigned according to all reports on the matter.

The crux of the argument is the division of funds received on the sale of concessions. From Roy’s story:

In the April 17 “framework,” Civic Center trustees and the Pirates agreed to a 57½-to-42½ percent split of all food and beverage revenue — including alcohol, something the hockey team had long sought. However, while drafting the agreement, it was brought to their attention the plan to share alcohol revenue violated state law. According to the rule, the team is not allowed to profit from the sale of alcohol in the building because only the building owner is listed on the liquor license.

Without their home rink to play in, it could see the Pirates taking a prolonged stay at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, where the team has already decided to host a handful of their first home dates this coming season.

With how the partnerships between AHL teams and their host cities tend to go — there is a reason why we see a handful of teams move on a regular basis — this could reach a breaking point that could see the team leave Portland. If that happens, it would end the run of one of the longest tenured AHL runs.

This is purely speculation, but with a team no longer in Houston and the tension between these two sides, it would almost make sense that if the Pirates and the CCCC fail to come to terms the Pirates go to a market that has already proven it can support the AHL.


AHL, PCG team up to tackle sponsorships

The American Hockey League is adding a new team. The league and Property Consulting Group announced today a partnership that will see PCG work on bringing new sponsorship dollars to the league.

Listed on the PCG website as a “past project”, the two are back together as the AHL is, apparently, looking to increase the amount of sponsorship dollars coming into the league. PCG has some experience in the sports market above and beyond their partnership with the AHL, also teaming with the San Diego Padres and the Baseball Hall of Fame to lend both organizations a hand in teaming with new sponsors.

From the AHL’s release:

We’re thrilled to announce our partnership with PCG,” said Chris Nikolis, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for the AHL. “The entire league is looking forward to seeing the creative sponsorships that PCG is known for developing, helping us enhance not only our revenue growth but our fans’ experiences as well.

According to the release, PCG has partnerships with several major national brands, including, “EMC, Jack Daniels, Kia Motor Company, Lexus, Lowe’s, MillerCoors, Panasonic, TaylorMade-Adidas Golf Company and Waste Management.”

(Cover image courtesy theahl.com)

Zach O’Brien going to camp with St. John’s

Though he suited up in one game with the IceCaps last season, St. John’s native Zach O’Brien will be looking to become a familiar face in his hometown team’s lineup.

O’Brien, who spent last season with the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan, has been invited back to training camp with the IceCaps and is hoping to make an impression.

While O’Brien’s offensive skill is what makes him an intriguing prospect, the 21-year-old forward understands he has to round out his game in order to make his mark in the professional ranks. From the St. John’s Telegram:

My game is to bring some offensive skill, but I’m also willing to work hard and become more of a complete player because I know that’s what they want me to do. . . If I want to stick (at the AHL level), I know I have to prove I can play in the defensive end as well.

In 207 games in the QMJHL, O’Brien has tallied 132 goals and 145 assists, good for 277 points and 1.32 points per game.

At 21, O’Brien still has a ton of room to grow, and while he may not be able to stick in the AHL his offensive skill is hard to deny and you’d be hard pressed to find a team that couldn’t use that kind of production if he can carry it over to the AHL.