Steve Durbano Fan
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Forum: Other LeaguesAug. 7, 2021 at 8:48 p.m.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>BeterChiarelli</b></div><div>If there's a market in Houston, it's likely going to be an NHL one, not for the AHL. The population is too high and it's already got 3 of the big 4 leagues in it. I recall there being potential for the Coyotes to relocate to Houston a couple years after the Seattle expansion to bring them into both a better market and closer to their divisional opponents. I feel similarly about Milwaukee: I really think they have a shot at being the next expansion franchise if Arizona relocates (second if Houston merely expands into the league). I'm always going to want to see Hartford and Quebec City make their comebacks but the NHL seems intent on not letting that happen.

The only teams that aren't genuinely capitalizing on having their AHL teams close (within a 2ish hour drive or 1 hour flight) to their actual NHL clubs are Calgary, Carolina, Edmonton, Florida, Nashville, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Vancouver. The Canucks might be moving into Abbotsford so their presence on this list might not be permanent.

I think there are two components to this issue: the first being that not all AHL teams are necessarily owned by their parent NHL clubs (most are) and that the AHL itself has the same "issue" with Canadian expansion as the NHL does, but less in terms of audience and more in terms of inter-divisional travel. It would make a ton of sense to put Edmonton's farm team in Saskatoon and Calgary's AHL club in Regina (owned in part or wholly by their NHL clubs to account for finances) for both distance and marketing reasons, but the divisional alignment ends up rather screwy. Beyond that, it's still drastically expensive to own an AHL team: access to the facilities is the hard part, then keeping them funded and profitable is another deal in itself.

I don't know why Carolina lost control of the Checkers. That seemed like a pretty optimal setup.

I think my optimal setup for the teams I listed would be as follows:
- Calgary = Regina
- Carolina = Charlotte
- Edmonton = Saskatoon
- Florida = Miami
- Nashville = Memphis or Atlanta
- Seattle = Portland
- St. Louis = Springfield (Illinois)
- Tampa Bay = Jacksonville
- Vancouver = Abbotsford

Regardless, I think both leagues put way too much emphasis on divisions and because of that, they frequently get in their own way.</div></div>

I cant see the NHL being thrilled about knee capping the WHL by taking away 3 of its best markets especially when it is still to be determined what effect the Abbotsford team will have on the Vancouver Giants given they will compete for the family economical night out market. Memphis or Birmingham would be good for Nashville but I think Hockey is done in Atlanta as even there ECHL is technically in Duluth 25 miles out of Atlanta and still struggling as the only pro game in town.