The Abbotsford Centre was once home to the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat, but fans should temper hopes the Canucks might move their minor league affiliate there.
The list of options for the Vancouver Canucks’ to put their AHL team in for the 2021-22 team appears to be one shorter.
The NHL team still has to decide to leave Utica, N.Y., but if they do decide to pull up stakes it seems unlikely they’ll be moving their team to Abbotsford, despite the hopes of fans in the Fraser Valley.
“I have not had any recent discussions with the Canucks on the topic of their AHL team relocating,” Rick Comeau, general manager of the Abbotsford Centre, told Postmedia News in an email Monday. “I can only imagine the challenges that the team has been going through these last couple of weeks with the health of the players and their families. I would guess that has been their focus and they are spending their time trying to get healthy, reworking schedules, travel and getting back on the ice.
“Glad to see a big win for the team in their first game back after such a long layoff.”
As spokesperson for the Utica Comets said there was nothing new to report on their end.
A request for comment was also sent to the Canucks. On the weekend, they told Postmedia: “While a formal decision on the future of the affiliation has not been reached, Vancouver and Utica will exercise due diligence and explore all options on the future of their partnership.”
Earlier this month, Comets president Robert Esche — his Mohawk Valley Garden Inc. operates the Comets on behalf of the Canucks — registered “Utica Devils” as a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, in apparent preparation for a possible switch of NHL affiliates to the New Jersey Devils.
The Canucks and the Comets have been affiliated since the 2013-14 season, but under the terms of the current operating agreement between the two teams, the Canucks can opt out after this season.