League approves 30th franchise in Omaha
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Calgary Flames once again will have an American Hockey League affiliate to call their own.
The AHL on Monday announced the approval of the relocation of the Flames' inactive franchise to Omaha, Neb., for the 2005-06 season.
The request was granted Friday by the AHL's Board of Governors, giving the Flames their own league affiliate for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign.
After a lengthy run in Saint John, New Brunswick, the Flames elected to share the Lowell Lock Monsters franchise with the Carolina Hurricanes while searching for a new location for their minor league organization.
"This partnership is consistent with our overall player development strategy that includes the permanent relocation of our American Hockey League franchise," Flames coach Darryl Sutter said. "We intend on building a hockey club in Omaha that resembles the character and qualities we are desirous of in our team in Calgary."
The team, which will become the 30th member of the AHL, will play its home games in the Omaha Civic Auditorium, the home of Creighton University's women's basketball and volleyball teams.
"We are thrilled to welcome the city of Omaha to the excitement, energy and skill level of the American Hockey League," AHL president David Andrews said. "Omaha has a rich hockey tradition. ... As we enter our historic 70th season of play, Omaha will provide an immediate competitive rivalry with Chicago, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids and our other newest teams in Des Moines and Peoria."
The relocation marks the second time the Flames have had an affliation in Omaha. In 1973 while in Atlanta, the Flames took over sole sponsorship of the Omaha Knights of the Central Hockey League.
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