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It’s official: Wild move AHL affiliate to Iowa, Canucks purchase Peoria

Apr 18, 2013, 4:37 PM EDT


Following today’s Board of Governors meeting, the American Hockey League officially announced Minnesota’s affiliate, the Houston Aeros, would be moving to Iowa and that Peoria — formerly St. Louis’ affiliate — had been purchased by Vancouver.

As PHT mentioned earlier, the Wild will move the team to Des Moines (where they’ll be known as the Iowa Wild), ending a 12-year relationship with Houston.

It’s believed an issue with the Toyota Center — where the Aeros currently reside — played a role in the decision, as arena operators figured they could make more money “hosting concerts and other events” rather than AHL games, and planned on raising the Wild’s rent.

The move to Des Moines will mark the return of American League hockey to Iowa for the first time since 2009, when the Chops served as Anaheim’s minor-league affiliate.

News of Vancouver’s purchase of Peoria broke in early April, with the AHL making the sale official on Thursday.

“The purchase of the Peoria Rivermen franchise allows Canucks Sports & Entertainment to assume full control of their minor league development program,” the Canucks said in a press release. “No determination has been made relative to the operation of the franchise for the 2013.14 season.”

It’s been speculated the Canucks could move the Rivermen to Abbotsford, a Vancouver suburb currently home to Calgary’s AHL affiliate.

Abbotsford has struggled to attract fans to watch the Flames’ farm team in a pro-Canucks market, with one notable exception: when Vancouver’s AHL team from Chicago is in town.


Ex-AHL Peoria owner blasts Blues over selling club, calls move ‘disgusting’

Report: Flames moving AHL team from Abbotsford to Utica

  1. ignath - Apr 18, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Will be nice for those Wild players brought up/sent down throughout the year. Becoming a trend for the Wild…less travel time in the schedule and less travel time on call ups/send downs.

    • ThatGuy - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:27 PM

      Likely won’t be all that much less travel time, if any. Houston has a major airport hub. They have atleast one daily direct flight to every NHL city, multiple direct flights for most cities.

      Des Moines only has daily direct flights to 4 NHL cities, and only multiple flights to Denver, Chicago and MSP. So if the team is away, that most likely means catching a connecting flight at MSP or O’Hare, and longer travel times with the layovers.

  2. elvispocomo - Apr 18, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    Looks like the second link in the ‘Related’ section goes to an edit page we don’t have access to.

    But other than that, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Peoria. Gilman of the Canucks was recently in New York scouting options, and maintained the status quo about the Flames still having the Heat in Abby, but even still you’d think somewhere other than the far side of the continent would be a better choice.

    • Mike Halford - Apr 18, 2013 at 5:08 PM

      Hmm. Weird. I went in and took a look, should be working now.

    • ruddigervancity - Apr 18, 2013 at 7:45 PM

      It’s really no further than their current farm team in Chicago…

      • elvispocomo - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        A little bit certainly, and with Chicago being a main flight hub you can see why you’d have a team towards the East. But, with the opportunity to move a team, you’d think somewhere closer rather than further would be ideal.

  3. axisofweasels - Apr 18, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    sad to see the aeros go

  4. lostpuppysyndrome - Apr 18, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    Woo! Roooaaaaaddd triiiiiiiiip! And something worth going to Iowa for!

  5. dumptrucked - Apr 18, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    Does Des Moines still have the Buccaneers? They weren’t AHL, something different but I remember going to those games as a kid.

  6. thewaytonever - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    Noooooooooooo! The Aeros have been my hometown team since 1992. I have seen them win the Turner Cup and the Calder Cup in this city. They are a great orginization within the community and have a great following here in Houston. They will be missed dearly.

  7. jessejames182 - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    This sucks, I think I officially hate the wild now. The aeros were the only way I could get high quality hockey in Houston, I went to their games I was a proud supporter, I rooted for the wild because they were made of Aeros players. Thanks for taking it away.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Apr 19, 2013 at 10:26 AM

      Don’t blame the Wild, blame Toyota Center

    • darksidecowboy - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      Hey fellow Texan hockey fan, it does suck to lose your team. We here in Austin will miss the rivalry as well. Aeros had the coolest jerseys in the AHL to boot. Why not root for the AHL leading team Texas Stars now? We’d love to have you guys, and the first beer is on me! Only 2 1/2 hour drive, make a weekend out of it, and enjoy this fine city.

  8. rupertslander - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    The Canucks are moving their AHL club to Abbotsford? Next thing you know, the Canucks’ current AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves will be purchased by the Blackhawks to become their AHL affiliate!

    All this common sense is giving me the creeps…

    • elvispocomo - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:36 PM

      The Wolves are privately owned and are one of the more profitable teams in the AHL, they’re unlikely to be bought by any AHL team. The Blues will probably use them next year as their affiliate as the Blackhawks already have the Rockford IceHogs (the 3rd Illinois AHL team) as theirs.

      If Peoria moves next season as is suggested by the Canucks purchasing them, that’d leave 2 Illinois AHL teams, Rockford as the Blackhawks affiliate and Chicago as the Blues affiliate.

      • elvispocomo - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        Damn, no edit: “bought by any AHL team” should be NHL, not AHL.

  9. jessejames182 - Apr 19, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    I honestly don’t know what to do. I did love the inner state rivalry with the Stars and Rampage. The Aeros had Howes number hanging from the rafters. I just loved seeing Houston on a hockey jersey. And I’m tired of Minnesota telling me who to blame, it doesn’t matter, it’s done. The Aeros have awesome dedicated fans and they had no say in what happened to their team, so forget the Toyota center and the wild

  10. kotapug - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    There you go. Blame the wild not the money hungry owner of the place they where playing.

  11. jessejames182 - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    I’d also like to point out that the aeros organization that the wild are moving is older than the wild organization, so sit on that one Minnesota.

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