Two days after rumors swirled that the Central Hockey League expects to fold following the 2014-15 season, Arizona Sundogs general manager Chris Presson said in an email Friday that the Prescott Valley franchise is staying put in the CHL.
Gerry Cantlon, a minor-league hockey blogger with Howlings.net on the East Coast, wrote in a blog post published online Wednesday that the CHL will cease operations late in 2015, and six of its nine teams will be absorbed into either the American Hockey League (AHL) or the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).
Citing two unnamed hockey sources, Cantlon added that the Sundogs would likely join the AHL, akin to a Triple-A minor league. However, in an email sent from Presson to the Courier late Friday afternoon, Presson said he hasn't spoken with anyone about the CHL potentially dissolving.
"I have had no conversations regarding the rumored merger," Presson wrote in the email. "We are a member in good standing with the CHL and we continue to operate in that regard."
CHL director of operations Bob Hoffman did not respond to the Courier's request for comments on Thursday or Friday to either confirm or deny the report.
Cantlon also wrote in his blog that the 16-team AHL wants to form a Pacific Division to include the Sundogs, which have a marketing affiliation with the NHL's Arizona Coyotes, and the Denver Cutthroats, the CHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche.
On Thursday, Coyotes vice president of communications Rich Nairn said in an email sent to the Courier that the Coyotes organization does "not have any comment on the CHL or the Sundogs."
Greg Dillard, Coyotes media relations coordinator, added in a brief phone conversation on Thursday that the Glendale-based franchise knew nothing about the CHL supposedly folding.
He added that the Coyotes remain committed to their current AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates in Maine.
For the upcoming 2014-15 season, the Double-A CHL will send only nine teams onto the ice since the expansion St. Charles Chill disbanded in the off-season after just one season in Missouri.
The CHL originally operated from 1963-86 before being re-formed in 1992. The Sundogs joined the league in 2006.