Maine Hockey Journal

Affiliation change imminent? Not according to Pirates

In the last week, there’s been a lot of talk about the future of the Portland Pirates, more specifically their affiliation with the Anaheim Ducks. It’s something that been speculated about since last season when Brian Burke went on a tour of the Ford Center in Oklahoma City.

An article from a Rochester, NY newspaper – Democrat and Chronicle – reported on Friday that Anaheim was looking at San Antonio, Texas as their home for their prospects, beginning next season. Over the weekend, I attempted to approach the subject in the Journal Tribune, which you can read below, discussing the history between the two franchises.

Today the Chronicle added more fuel to the already burning fire, when they quoted Florida Panthers Asst. GM Randy Sexton as saying the Buffalo Sabres had a deal done with the Portland Pirates to place their prospects in Portland next season. Likewise, the Panthers would like to stay with the Rochester Americans.

So, this looks pretty clean cut then, Anaheim moves on to San Antonio, Buffalo comes to Portland and Florida stays with the Amerks, but not so fast because before the ink could dry on the newsprint, Pirates Managing Owner and CEO Brian Petrovek denied that report to the Portland Press Herald.

Normally, where there is smoke there’s fire and I think that’s the case here. At the end of the day I do think Anaheim is on their way out of Portland and that’s too bad because they given Portland probably their best hockey since the first season of the Pirates back in 1993-94.

If Anaheim was going to stick around, you’d have to think that they would have agreed to accept the two-year option, as it was only a year prior when Brian Burke and Pirates sat down to redo the previous five-year deal. Also, the Oct 1 deadline came and went without so much a whimper and that usually signals a divorce in the making.

Petrovek’s denial at this point is expected, the major reason why nothing has been announced yet is because there are too many other factors involved. First off, we’re dealing with not just the Portland Pirates, but this involves the Rochester Americans, San Antonio Rampage and even another unknown AHL affiliate because when the Ducks move into Texas, the Phoenix Coyotes will have to find a new home. For each AHL franchise, there’s an NHL team making a corresponding move. One shouldn’t be surprised if this doesn’t get announced until much later into the new year and it could be even after the season has concluded much like what Anaheim did when they arrived in Portland.

Stay Tuned……

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