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home : sports : sports August 27, 2015


8/8/2014 6:00:00 AM
Rumor mill: Report says CHL to fold after 2014-15
East Coast blogger suggests Sundogs could join AHL
A minor-league hockey online news blog reported Wednesday that the Central Hockey League will fold after the 2014-15 season, adding that the Prescott Valley-based Arizona Sundogs are expected to join the American Hockey League (AHL) at that time.
A minor-league hockey online news blog reported Wednesday that the Central Hockey League will fold after the 2014-15 season, adding that the Prescott Valley-based Arizona Sundogs are expected to join the American Hockey League (AHL) at that time.
The Daily Courier


A minor-league hockey online news blog reported Wednesday that the Central Hockey League will fold after the 2014-15 season, adding that the Prescott Valley-based Arizona Sundogs are expected to join the American Hockey League (AHL) at that time.

Gerry Cantlon, a blogger with East Coast-based Howlings.net, wrote that he learned from two unnamed hockey sources that the CHL, a Double-A league reestablished in the early 1990s, will cease operations in late 2015, although he did not offer reasons why.

CHL media relations director Bob Hoffman and Sundogs general manager Chris Presson were not immediately available for comment to confirm or deny the report on Thursday.

Cantlon reported that the 16-team AHL, a Triple-A minor league, wants to form a Pacific Division that could include the CHL's Sundogs, who have a marketing affiliation with the NHL's Arizona Coyotes, and the Denver Cutthroats, the CHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche.

However, Coyotes vice president of communications Rich Nairn said in an email to the Courier on Thursday afternoon that the Coyotes organization does "not have any comment on the CHL or the Sundogs."

Cantlon also wrote in his article that four other current CHL franchises, including the Allen Americans in Texas, Rapid City Rush in South Dakota, Missouri Mavericks and the Quad City Mallards in Illinois, will head to the upper-tier Double-A East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) after 2014-15.

The CHL's three remaining clubs, the Wichita Thunder, Tulsa Oilers and the expansion Brampton Beast, Cantlon added, would be free to "pursue other minor leagues and junior hockey opportunities."

The St. Charles Chill, another CHL expansion team, folded this off-season after only one campaign in 2013-14.

Cantlon added that the AHL and the ECHL could "expand to a 30-30 arrangement of teams" over the next several years as the NHL "seeks to consolidate minor league operations in keeping player personnel as close as possible (to their respective cities)."

For example, Cantlon said that the Avalanche might keep the Cutthroats in Denver as their AHL affiliate and form a Colorado ECHL franchise as a secondary affiliate.

The Dallas Stars could choose to do something similar, he added, using the Austin Ice Bats in Texas as their AHL affiliate and the Americans as their ECHL club.

The NHL's Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers and the Detroit Red Wings already have similar geographical arrangements with their minor league squads, Cantlon wrote.

Nevertheless, Greg Dillard, Coyotes media relations coordinator, said Thursday that the Glendale-based franchise knew nothing about the CHL potentially folding. He added that the Coyotes remain committed to their current AHL affiliate, the Portland (Maine) Pirates.

For the upcoming 2014-15 season, the CHL will have only nine teams, minus the Chill.

The league originally operated from 1963-86 before being re-formed in 1992. The Sundogs joined the league in 2006.



Related Stories:
• Sources say Sundogs have suspended operations
• Sundogs GM says club to remain in CHL despite rumors of league's demise


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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, August 10, 2014
Article comment by: tell tale signs

So glad to have hockey in this area. Also very happy to have the arena. I have no qualms about the Fain family, and quite frankly, I want to say thank you for bringing both to our community !
Both bring us entertainment value and community growth.
That being said, as a business owner, look at the signs of a dying business. In the last few years, anyone who was passionate and love the game, has left the sundogs. Over a dozen hockey loving staff left since the current GM took the helm. This year no exception, as the staff is once again down to 4 full time people, including the coach. With the exception of the coach, the other 3 have not played the game. Out of those 4 , only one person is selling tickets. They are just doing their jobs. They work hard, but without a love and knowledge for the game, It is a hard sell, in an already difficult market. Red flag that the end is near for the current club.
If the league changes, or coyotes bring a team here , I hope that means a change in culture as well.


Posted: Saturday, August 09, 2014
Article comment by: More Like ECHL

I've said for years since Eric sold the team that the Sundogs should have moved up to the ECHL. Knowing the current owners they'll just run the Sundogs into the ground for a tax write off. Best place for the Sundogs is in the ECHL if they want to survive and bring back the fans.

Posted: Friday, August 08, 2014
Article comment by: Justin C

This article is filled with inaccuracies:
"Cantlon reported that the 16-team AHL, a Triple-A minor league, wants to form a Pacific Division "
The AHL is a 30 team league.

"The Dallas Stars could choose to do something similar, he added, using the Austin Ice Bats in Texas as their AHL affiliate and the Americans as their ECHL club."
The Austin team is the Texas Stars.

Also a minor error in the original blog post, the ECHL has 22 teams, not 19. (21 and 1 inactive).


Posted: Friday, August 08, 2014
Article comment by: AHL Really?

AHL is big-time. That would be a great thing, but not sure if our location and stadium would support that.

AHL affiliate of the Coyotes would be awesome!!! You'd get to see top tier players on their way up.

I would all of this with a HUGE grain of salt.


Posted: Friday, August 08, 2014
Article comment by: Matt Hein

Could be good... long term?



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