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Canadian NHL teams to move AHL affiliates up north next season

The Red Deer Flames/Oilers and the Abbotsford Comets in 2021?

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According to a report from NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, Canadian-based NHL teams with U.S. based AHL affiliates may move their clubs up north to Canada for the 2020-21 season and beyond. Because the Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs' AHL affiliates are still already in Canada this will only affect the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks. That means the Stockton Heat, Bakersfield Condors and Utica Comets could be headed to Canada.

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This depends on what happens with the border, but there is talk that Canadian-based NHL teams with U.S.-based AHL affiliates are considering moving them north of the 49th for the 2020–21 season. That’s Calgary/Stockton; Edmonton/Bakersfield; and Vancouver/Utica. It makes sense, because a quarantine period would mean you can’t call up players. Not sure if those teams would be based out of the NHL buildings or centralized, but it is something these three organizations must prepare for.

For what it's worth, the Flames once had their AHL affiliate in Abbotsford, BC for years before moving them to California. Obviously that relationship never worked out because Abbotsford is Canucks fan territory. It would be interesting to see the Canucks move their farm team to Abbotsford and for the Flames and Oilers to each move their team to Alberta or even Saskatchewan for the upcoming season. Maybe the AHL could even go the same route as the NHL is reportedly considering and ice an entire division located within Canada.

The Flames had their AHL affiliate in Saint John, New Brunswick for 10 years before moving south of the border back in 2003. As for the Oilers, they've had their affiliate south of the border since cutting ties with the Hamilton Bulldogs back in 2006. Prior to that though the Oilers had strong Maritime ties with their affiliates, having AHL teams in Moncton, Halifax and Cape Breton Island. As for the Canucks, they had their AHL affiliate Manitoba Moose in Winnipeg for 10 seasons, but have been in Utica, New York for the past seven seasons. The club has also had affiliates in Hamilton and Fredericton, New Brunswick at certain points in franchise history, as well.