It’s still not a done deal, and a Thunder Bay news outlet’s poll showed citizens who voted are against a new event centre, but should the Winnipeg Jets move their affiliate west, the American Hockey League will do whatever they need to keep a team in Newfoundland’s capital.
In an interview with TimesUnion.com sports reporter Pete Dougherty, AHL President Dave Andrews said the league would be looking for a solution should the IceCaps move on.
“That’s another one of those markets that there’s a tremendous amount of interest,” Andrews told Dougherty in the interview posted today.
“That Thunder Bay story is preliminary to say the least,” Andrews added. “There’s no biulding there, and the financing of the building is not yet in place. So the intent (of the Jets) is to move the team into a more approximate location like Thunder Bay.”
The potential move to Thunder Bay from St. John’s is a situation where the AHL and its teams are beholden to the desires of the clubs in the NHL, something Andrews briefly touched on in his talk with Dougherty.
“We certainly need to support the desire on part of the NHL clubs to have their AHL affiliates closer,” said Andrews.
However, he added that the AHL can’t afford to “lose franchises that are as solid as St. John’s”, speaking at length about the incredible fan support the team has had since the return of the AHL to the Rock.
Andrews also answered some questions about Glens Falls, where the city will be losing Adirondack Phantoms as they move on to Lehigh Valley.
“We definitely got one more year out of the Phantoms up there than we expected,” said Andrews, adding that the league and Glens Falls mayor Jack Diamond have a search for a new team well under way.
“We think there are perhaps a couple of options,” Andrews told Dougherty. “I would give it some reasonable prospect of success.” Andrews added that it’s “not out of the realm of possibilty” that there will be a team in Glens Falls as soon as next season.
The full interview is below.