AHL return waiting on first ’Peg

Robin Short
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Manitoba Moose goalie Wade Flaherty stops St. John’s Maple Leafs’ forward Clarke Wilm during AHL action Friday Nov. 19, 2004, at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. With the Moose franchise poised to move to Newfoundland, St. John’s will return to the AHL for the first time since the Leafs left in 2005. — Canadian Press file photo

Danny Williams has been working “very hard” on getting an American Hockey League team for St. John’s, and acknowledges the city is “very close” to landing the Manitoba Moose, but cautions there are no deals in place.

However, The Telegram, as reported Saturday (click here for Saturday's story), has learned an  agreement involving the transfer of the Moose to St. John’s for the 2011-12 AHL season is done, but won’t be announced until the imminent NHL transfer of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg is complete.

Initial reports last week indicated a news conference is planned for today in Winnipeg. That time frame is now unlikely, meaning a more likely scenario for an announcement on the sale of the Thrashers to True North Sports and Entertainment will be Wednesday or perhaps later.

A news conference outlining the transfer of the Moose is planned for Friday in St. John’s, but given the delay in Winnipeg, the St. John’s announcement could be pushed back to next week.


“There are certain things that first have to happen,” said the former premier, “not the least of which is the NHL deal has to fall in place.”

Following Saturday’s Telegram report, the Moose issued the following release through Twitter: “Despite reports in the St. John’s Telegram, there is no agreement that would see the Moose move to St. John’s.”

When contacted Sunday evening, former St. John’s Maple Leafs director of operations Glenn Stanford, who will take over the new St. John’s AHL club when it arrives, declined comment.

Not that Stanford can say much. He is currently employed as president and governor of the Hamilton Bulldogs, who will play Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final tonight in Houston.

True North, under Mark Chipman, has also been ultra quiet through the whole process — first with the Phoenix Coyotes and now with Atlanta — for fear of upsetting the NHL applecart a la Jim Balsillie.

It was also reported in The Telegram Saturday Williams intends to eventually purchase the franchise from Chipman and True North in a year or two.

“There are certain things that first have to happen, not the least of which is the NHL deal has to fall in place.” Danny Williams

“Yes, I suppose it’s something I’d entertain,” he said, before adding, “but it’s never been discussed.”

Williams also maintains there are no deals in place with Mile One Centre or the province.

The team, under Williams and Stanford, would have to reach a lease agreement with St. John’s Sports and Entertainment. However, given SJSE’s desire to have American league hockey once again, and given the fact this is likely city’s best chance for an AHL club, it’s difficult to envision to the two sides not coming to an agreement.

As for the province, the new AHL team would be looking for some assistance, much the same as Winnipeg in its NHL bid.

“Call it a travel subsidy, call it economic development of whatever form you like, but the economic spinoff (of an AHL team) would be significant,” Williams said. “You’d have a payroll here of $2 million or $3 million a year, and that doesn’t even include the visiting teams and visiting fans coming in for games.”

For the past number of years, the Moose have been the farm team of the Vancouver Canucks. However, with the transfer of Atlanta to Winnipeg, the new St. John’s club will be the farm team of the fledgling Manitoba franchise.

The Thrashers’ AHL affiliate had been the Chicago Wolves. But because Chicago owns the AHL franchise and not Atlanta, the minor league club is not part of the NHL transaction leaving the Wolves to find an NHL partner.

The arrival of the new AHL club will bring an anchor tenant to Mile One for the first time since 2007-08. That was the final season of the three-year-old Quebec Major Junior Hockey League franchise, the Fog Devils, who were sold to Montreal interests and became the Junior de Montreal.

Before that, St. John’s was home to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ farm club for 14 years. That franchise relocated to Toronto following the 2004-05 hockey season.


Robin Short is The Telegram’s Sports Editor. He can be reached by email rshort@thetelegram.com

Organizations: NHL, Atlanta Thrashers, Toronto Maple Leafs True North Sports Phoenix Coyotes Chicago Wolves Vancouver Canucks Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Geographic location: Winnipeg, Atlanta, Manitoba Chicago Montreal Toronto

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • MBC
    May 31, 2011 - 12:08


  • chris oneill
    May 31, 2011 - 08:42

    Hi Downhomers, Although I am live in Ontario, my heart is always home in St. John's, I would love to help the residents with support for AHL team, I would love to say " Go Eastern Glaciers Go " (St. John's Glaciers ) or some other name. Thanks Robin for your imput responses

  • chief
    May 30, 2011 - 12:40

    As soon as the AHL(and AHL only) comes to St. Johns ,I'll be lining up fpr my season tickets. every growing city needs a pro sports team . Go Danny.......

  • no team needed
    May 25, 2011 - 09:18

    I agree with the liberal leader, Ms. Jones. There are better and more important things here in NL that we could use the money on. Wake up people. The next health care crisis that comes up, you will wonder where they will get the money to correct the problem. No, wait, it's gone on the %#% hockey team.

  • daskipper
    May 25, 2011 - 02:00

    Please call them the Caps. Go Caps Go!

  • Mike Dooley
    May 24, 2011 - 19:40

    Just hope they announce it soon so I can go on the hunt for my season tickets!

  • nickp
    May 24, 2011 - 17:22

    Rooting for a Saint John hockey team reminds me of the days when the AHL existed primarily in good hockey markets.

  • Jim
    May 24, 2011 - 13:44

    Carbonear Canadiens - Halifax Metro Centre actually has a big parkade right next to it. Sadly, EGP has a point and this was debated when they were looking to build it... there were better locations but City Hall wanted it cloe to Georg Street for the business spin off. Don't be nieve.

  • Telling it like it is
    May 24, 2011 - 13:37

    When the Fog Devils and the Maple Leafs what were the two most common complaints from fans??? 1 - Ticket Prices (cheapskates) 2 - Parking First off, if you can't afford hockey tickets, don't go. Secondly, every townie is used to getting into their car and driving down to the corner store to pick up their salt beef and scratch tickets. the Fog Devils offered a $2 return trip on the park and ride to avoid even having to park your car downtown and people still complained. Bottom line, if Newfoundlanders can't complain about something, they'll make something up to complain about.

  • justinb
    May 24, 2011 - 09:07

    its great that we can finally have an AHL team back again. I would go to alot of more games if we ever did get a team in the AHL. I never was a big fan of the fog devils even though im a big hockey fan and having a team like the moose would do great things for st, john's. I am optimistic about having the team and also hopefull as many newfoundladers would be as well. lets hope this deal goes through!

    • HockeyFan
      May 24, 2011 - 16:20

      Big hockey fans are fans of all hockey not just select leagues. What are you going to do when you realize that most of the players on our new AHL team--IF we get one--are one yeaer removed from major juniior? wil that make them better then. The Telly article that Brendan McCarthy wrote has picture of Kyle Wellwood and mentions Raffi Torres because they are AHL grad who are currently in the playoffs yet they neglect to mention Kris Letang and Brad Marchand who we saw play here during their junior years and are better players than the former two will ever be and Letang is the only one of the bunch to have a Stanley Cup ring?

  • Hockey fan
    May 24, 2011 - 08:40

    Yea EGP, I wasn't aware Newfoundlanders had a divine right to park right next to the door at every event. Never heard the likes.

  • Don
    May 24, 2011 - 08:36

    Im getting a little nervous now.. But i still think this is going to happen. Cant believe Atlanta will find a buyer at this point--unless Ted Turner steps in at last moment,, LOL.. As far as parking goes --come on folks use shuttle buses more for Gods sake.

  • steve
    May 24, 2011 - 08:07

    EGP. this team is barely feasible as an idea as it is - do you really think spending the money to build ANOTHER new stadium at double the size will make it more feasible. I've never seen people so cheap in terms of paying for entertainment as the crowd around here - go to an event anywhere else on earth and you have to pay big prices for parking. Ask the people in Ottawa if they like having a stadium in the middle of nowhere.

  • Eli
    May 24, 2011 - 08:06

    I don't think Councillor Danny Breen is being up front regarding the cost to the taxpayers of St. John's. He has to have an indication or he's asleep. I doubt it's the latter.

  • egp
    May 24, 2011 - 07:28

    why dont danny build a 10.000 seat arena around kenmount road where you can park i have had tickets to mile one and wouldn,t go just for that reason ,it is too small for big events it should never have been built in its present location

    • Carbonear Canadiens
      May 24, 2011 - 08:16

      Well EGP, I guess you haven't been to many arenas in major cities before have you? Where's the parking in downtown Halifax? How about near the ACC, or the Bell Center? Can't leave out Rexall Place or the Saddledome either, albeit these 2 are not as bad as the rest. I've been to my fair share of arenas, both in Canada and the US, and most times there is no parking in the immediate area. The complainers need to experience going to a game at another major center and then they'll realize walking from Harbour Drive to Mile One is a joke. It's sad that people like you are the reason why it probably won't survive. The Park-N-Ride used to be fantastic. Curbside drop-off and pickup, can't ask for much more than that except from someone to have your seat warmed up and your beer waiting. Unbelievable that people complain about walking for 10 mins, MAX.