NBC Sports: Vancouver AHL Team Moving To Utica
NBC Sports is reporting that a deal has been struck to move the Vancouver Canucks American Hockey League (AHL) team to Utica starting with the upcoming fall season.
NBC says that according to News 1130 Radio in Vancouver, the AHL will vote to approve the move to Utica on June 13th.
Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri, speaking on First News with Keeler in the Morning on Wednesday, spoke highly of the possibility of an AHL team moving to Utica; but, wouldn't say if a deal had been cut. However, in a recent interview in the Vancouver Sun newspaper, Palmieri was far more specific.
"I think Vancouver and Utica would be just a perfect marriage for great hockey in this area," said Palmieri. “I’m very optimistic. We are a city on the rise and I think there is a lot of interest in hockey. Behind the scenes, we’ve been working diligently for multiple months and I’m very encouraged," he said.
Palmieri did tell WIBX that he felt a team here would be good for Utica and that there would be a great marriage between a pro team and Utica College, which currently plays a full home schedule at the Aud.
Several weeks ago, former NHL player Rob Esche confirmed that he was spearheading an effort to land an AHL team at the Aud. Speaking on WIBX, Esche said "no deal had been struck" but something would have to happen soon, if a team were to be playing at the Aud in the fall. WIBX was unable to reach Esche today for comment.
Utica hasn't been a permanent home of an AHL team since the New Jersey Devils farm team left in 1993.
Click here to listen the complete Rob Esche interview with Keeler, plus reaction by Utica College Hockey Coach Gary Heenan