The Flames front office clearly stated at their press conference last month that one of the major drivers to moving the franchise to Glens Falls was to reduce the travel their prospects endured and allow further development by spending more time on the ice / less time traveling and in hotels. Today, the AHL made their divisional and conference realignment announcement, which clearly paves the way for the stated goals of the Flames organization.
The Adirondack Flames will remain in the Western Conference, but will move to the North Division with the makeup as follows:
Hamilton Bulldogs (Canadiens)
Rochester Americans (Sabres)
Toronto Marlies (Leafs)
Utica Comets (Canucks)
This Divisional alignment had gained a fair amount of traction in the rumor mills and has some very interesting dynamics. It positions four AHL teams with Canadian parent clubs, leverages the significant rivalry between the Flames and Canucks organization and reunites a long standing AHL rivalry between Rochester and Adirondack. It also accomplishes a major driver for the Flames - reduced travel resulting in increased practice on the Glens Falls Civic Center ice, as the drive times and distances are as follows -
Hamilton - 375 miles / 7 hours
Rochester - 250 miles / 4 hours
Toronto - 420 miles / 7.5 hours
Utica - 110 miles / 2 hours
Combine this with the likely non divisional / conference opponents such as Albany (50 miles / 1 hour), Binghamton (175 miles / 3 hours) and Syracuse (150 miles / 2.5 hours) and a major priority to the organization and its development goals has been accomplished.
There will be further clarity when the full schedule is announced in mid August. Until then, we will look forward to the opening home game the evening of October 11 against a yet to be announced opponent and the beginning of the Flames era in Glens Falls.