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AHL approves Abbotsford Heat move to Glens Falls

By MIKE LEVIN

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WKTV) -  On Monday, the AHL's Board of Governors officially approved the Calgary Flames to move their affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat, to Glens Falls.  The move will take affect for the 2014-15 season.

The Glens Falls Civic Center has been home to the Phantoms, the affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers since 2009.  But the Phantoms will be moving to Allentown, Pennsylvania for 2014-15.

So what does that mean for the Comets, whose parent club, the Vancouver Canucks, had been rumored to be seeking the Abbotsford team as their affiliate for 2013-14?  Not much for now, other than having another in-state rival for the upcoming season.

Back on April 15, the Flames announced that they'd be moving the Heat out of Abbotsford for the 2014-15 season, fueling speculation that the Flames and Canucks would swap affilaites, or that Utica would lose their AHL team after just one season.

However, the Canucks issued a statement at that time, saying "(We) are committed to our AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets and enjoy a strong relationship with our partner club. A strong base of Utica fans have shown tremendous support throughout the season and the Canucks intend to honour our long-term partnership agreement with the Comets."

Comets President Rob Esche also spoke about the possible reshuffling in the AHL, saying: "The speculation is going to come, and the reason it comes is because of what happened last year, but like I said as we sit here today, its completely different circumstances.  We have two partners that are extremely close with one another right now, Vancouver and us here in Utica."

The Comets and Canucks are under contract to remain affiliates for five more seasons, after signing a six year deal last year.

Abbotsford is forty-one miles from Vancouver, but has been the only west coast city in the AHL, making travel difficult for the Heat.

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