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Utica reported as frontrunner for Canucks' AHL team

By MIKE LEVIN

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A Canadian newspaper is reporting Utica as a frontrunner city for the Vancouver Canucks' AHL team.

An article by Ben Kuzma was published in the the Province, stating that the team recently purchased the Peoria Riverman from the St. Louis Blues and could not strike a deal to keep the team in Illinois.

While it was never confirmed, the Calgary Flames were rumored to previously be looking at the Utica Memorial Auditorium as the new home for their minor league affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat.

Former NHL goalie Rob Esche told NEWSChannel 2 at the time that plans were in the works to see if a plan could be put in place to draw a team to Utica, though nothing was finalized.

The new article states that a $250,000 grant was approved to start the process to improve the Utica Memorial Auditorium to AHL standards, as the Aud has a current capacity of 4,000.

Esche and Frank DuRoss, who have both been a part of the effort to bring an AHL team back to Utica for the first time since the Devils left, as well as the Canucks organization, were contacted by NEWSChannel 2 Saturday, but were unavailable for comment.

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