Abbotsford not on ECHL radar

The hunt for a tenant to replace the American Hockey League's Abbotsford Heat won't result in an ECHL team coming to the Valley.

Dan Kinvig,

Black Press

The commissioner of the ECHL says that Abbotsford is “not on our radar screen.”

Brian McKenna spoke with The News late last week, responding to rumblings that the 22-team minor pro hockey circuit was among the leagues eyeing Abbotsford as the American Hockey League’s Heat prepare to move.

“We were aware that the American League team was leaving town,” McKenna acknowledged. “We have not, now or in the past, been approached by any potential ownership group (from Abbotsford). It’s not a market that has had discussion with our executive committee or our board at this point.

“I’m not aware of any team in our league or any current owner in our league that’s had any discussion, either. Even if that were the case, it would have to be brought to our board for approval.

“At this point as well, our roster of teams is set for the ‘14-’15 season. Anything we would do in any market at this point would be for the ‘15-’16 season.”

McKenna explained that while the ECHL isn’t adverse to expansion, they take a “very cautious approach.” Additionally, they prefer to give a new franchise a year to prepare for the launch, and generally vote to approve expansion at their June annual meeting or their September preseason meeting for the following fall.

“If it’s a good market with very solid ownership, a business plan we think can succeed for the longer team and a reasonable lease, we’ll take a look at it,” he said. “If all of those elements aren’t in place, then we’re happy to take a pass on it if we don’t that it’s either going to be in the best long-term interests of the city or the ECHL. We’re not in the mode of expansion for the sake of expansion.”

The ECHL used to be known as the East Coast Hockey League, but simply goes by the acronym now as its footprint has expanded westward.

It’s the third tier of pro hockey in North America, below the National Hockey League and AHL.

Abbotsford was a geographic outpost in the AHL, whereas the ECHL has eight teams in the Western U.S. – three in California, and one each in Alaska, Utah, Colorado, Idaho and Nevada.

But the league hasn’t had a team in Canada since 2011, when the Victoria Salmon Kings folded to make way for the Western Hockey League’s Victoria Royals (formerly the Chilliwack Bruins).

Just Posted

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

RCMP believe Missing Hope teenager was headed to Chilliwack

Keely Reeze Loewen, 18, last in contact with a family member on June 13

Chilliwack residents reminded to ‘stand by your pan’ after kitchen fire Tuesday

Unattended pot on stove leads to fire and smoke damage in McIntosh apartment unit

Session will help Chilliwack seniors with paperwork plans

The June 25 info session will cover POAs, wills, and more

Question period won’t change after Chilliwack trustee motion fails

Public participation will continue to be limited to items on the night’s agenda

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

30 years later: B.C. woman uses sidewalk chalk to reclaim site of her sexual assault

Vancouver woman didn’t think her powerful story, written in chalk, would ignite such support

Most Read