The ECHL board of governors approved the transfer of controlling interest in the Stockton Thunder today making the Flames purchase official. The Flames now have control of the now former ECHL club as the team will change hands from SC Hockey Franchise Corporation, an entity controlled by Brad Rowbotham, to Adirondack Flames Canada Limited, an entity controlled by the Calgary Flames Limited Partnership. ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna thanked Rowbotham for his service. "Brad has been a passionate owner and an active member of our Board. We wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors" McKenna said. "We welcome the Flames ownership group to our League as they add an ECHL team to their impressive list of teams at various levels."
The board of governors also approved the relocation of the Thunder to Glens Falls, New York which officially allows the Flames to move the Thunder to Glens Falls, New York where they'll play in the Glens Falls Civic Center. The move comes one day after the AHL announced the founding of the Pacific Division which is based entirely in California. That move allowed the Flames to move the Adirondack Flames from Glens Falls to the Stockton Arena in Stockton, California.
Joining the Thunder in relocation are the Ontario Reign who are the ECHL affiliates of the Los Angeles Kings and Winnipeg Jets. They'll be headed to Manchester, New Hampshire and replace the displaced Kings AHL team the Manchester Monarchs who will head to Ontario, California. The Bakersfield Condors, ECHL team of the Edmonton Oilers will also be relocating. They're headed to Norfolk, Virginia and will replace the Norfolk Admirals who were the former AHL team of the Anaheim Ducks. These moves come on top of the existing news that the St. John's IceCaps will move from St. John's, Newfoundland to Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Is all of this confusing yet? If so, here's what the moves over the course of the recent days look like.
|City||Old League||Old Affiliate||New League||New Affiliate|
|San Diego, CA||None||None||AHL||Ducks|
|Glens Falls, NY||AHL||Flames||ECHL||Flames|
|Oklahoma City, OK||AHL||Oilers||None||Out of Business|
|Worcester, MA||AHL||Sharks||None||Looking for Team|
|San Jose, CA||None||None||AHL||Sharks|
|St. John's, NL||AHL||Jets||None||Looking for Team|
|Thunder Bay, ON||None||None||AHL||Jets|
The name and logo of the Flames new ECHL club has yet to be determined. The move will officially end the Flames one year affiliation with the Loveland, Colorado based Colorado Eagles. In addition to the relocation of each franchise, the Las Vegas Wranglers voluntary withdrew their membership from within the ECHL. The Wranglers were displaced last year when the Orleans Arena refused to renew the lease and had to take the season off. The move puts the ECHL at 28 franchises. The league also set a cap for the number of teams at 30. Previously the cap had not been determined as the ECHL just joined with the CHL (Central Hockey League, not Canadian Hockey League) this offseason.