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Canada Gains a Fifth AHL Team with Stockton’s Relocation

Photo by David Kirouac

Canada Gains a Fifth AHL Team with Stockton’s Relocation

The American Hockey League – in conjunction with the National Hockey League – has announced that the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate will be relocated for the upcoming 2022-23 hockey season.

Currently in the middle of a heated Battle of Alberta, the Flames did not release much information to their fans or the fans of the current Stockton Heat on the move, but the official release does indicate the team is heading north from Stockton, California to the Flames’ home base of Calgary.

AHL president Scott Howson made the announcement at the AHL’s Board of Governors spring meeting, approving the relocation to Calgary. It has yet to be determined if the team would skate out of the Flames’ current stomping grounds in the Scotiabank Saddledome. The venue is currently shared by Calgary’s Flames, the WHL’s Hitmen and the NLL’s Roughnecks, while serving as host to various concerts/performing acts.

This would not be anything new for the ‘Heat’ – to which it has yet to be announced if the team’s moniker will remain the same – as the club did travel north to play out of Calgary in the improvised ‘Canadian’ Division for the 2020-21 COVID season.

“Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation have appreciated the partnership with the City of Stockton since our arrival in 2015,” Heat general manager Brad Pascall said. “We especially would like to say thank you to the Heat fans who loyally supported the team and continue to throughout the 2022 AHL Playoffs.”

Sadly, the Stockton Heat were burnt out by the hot sun of California. Unable to draw much of an audience over the past number of years, the team ranked second-last in average attendance over the course of the 2021-22 season, and is currently last in the playoffs. The Heat are in the Pacific Division Final and seem only be able to draw roughly 1,700 fans to watch them play – a difficult pill to swallow.

Details relating to the transfer are in progress and the AHL and the Flames will provide more information when finalized. Division alignment for the 2022-23 AHL season, which will begin October 14, will also be finalized at a later date.

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