06/14/2013 12:28 PM
SPRINGFIELD, Mass.- American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced today that the league’s Board of Governors has unanimously approved the relocation of the franchise owned by the Vancouver Canucks from Peoria, Ill., to Utica, N.Y.
The Utica Comets will begin play in the AHL in 2013-14 as the Canucks’ top development affiliate. The Comets will play their home games at the Utica Memorial Auditorium under the management of Mohawk Valley Garden, led by former AHL, NHL and U.S. Olympic goaltender Robert Esche and long-time AHL owner Frank DuRoss.
“The city of Utica has a rich hockey history and a passionate fan base,” said Andrews. “We welcome the Comets to the American Hockey League and look forward to returning to the Mohawk Valley.”
In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, executives and broadcasters of all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 87 percent of NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 12th year in a row, more than 6 million fans have attended AHL games across North America in 2012-13. Through the years, the AHL has been home to more than 100 future members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.