The American Hockey League was scheduled to meet this morning to decide if Vancouver will be allowed to move their minor-league ’Rivermen’ hockey team to Utica for the upcoming season.  A decision, which is expected to be positive, is anticipated to be announced on Friday.

Former Philadelphia Flyer and Olympian Rob Esche, who lives in the area, confirmed several weeks ago that he and investors have been working on a deal that would return professional hockey to Utica for the first time since 1993.

A Tweet from a Vancouver radio station on Thursday seemed to imply that the Canucks, the AHL and Esche’s group were close to a deal and the announcement was expected soon.    Esche was unavailable for comment today but has said recently that a deal was not yet final.

Mayor Rob Palmieri recently confirmed that the City of Utica has been working with Esche and the AHL to bring the Vancouver franchise to Utica.

“I think it would absolutely positive for Utica,“ Palmieri said on First New With Keeler in the Morning.

Rumors surfaced earlier this week that the Syracuse Crunch organization was opposed to Vancouver’s move to Utica; however, a source close to the negotiations claims those objections have been rectified.

Related stories:

Utica Mayor Rob Palmieri rolls out the red carpet for Vancouver  -  Read: Vancouver Sun

Rob Esche interview on First News with Keeler  listen