The AHL moves west


At 3:30pm ET AHL president Dave Andrews announced the creation on a Pacific Division that will play in the Western Conference of the league starting 2015/2016.

The cities effectively losing teams are Oklahoma City Barons, which happened earlier this season, Norfolk Admirals, Glens Falls/Adirondack Flames after only one run, Worcester Sharks and rivals Manchester Monarchs.

Picking up teams will be soon to be former ECHL franchises Ontario (Los Angeles), Bakersfield (Edmonton) and Stockton (Calgary). San Diego (Anaheim) will be a new city for triple A hockey although did at one time have a Gulls, and San Jose‘s farm club will play out of the same building as the Sharks; and will likely be renamed.

It’s fairly well-thought that Manchester, Adirondack and Norfolk make announcement to join the double A league and there’s rumors racing around Worcester is exploring the options and would have the best chance at success by resurrecting the Ice Cats, while Oklahoma City may get back into the fold under their old successful Blazers‘ banner after a year on the sidelines.

This move was 100% inevitable and can easily make fiscal sense. Those west coast teams draw fairly well with their fan base of hockey lovers.

On the plus side for Eastern Conference folks, chances are Utica, Rochester, Charlotte, Hamilton and even possible Toronto enter in their rivalry picture.

The big news is the top level of minor league hockey in California has arrived.