Rumors floating around the media are that the American Hockey Leagues St. Johns IceCaps (Winnipeg Jets Affiliate) are planning on moving the franchise to the Thunder Bay Ontario area sometime before the 2015/16 season. This is not the first time that St. Johns has had professional hockey or the first to leave. In 1991 the AHL St. Johns Maple Leafs came into the league as the top affiliate of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs only lasting to the 2005 season when they relocated to Toronto calling themselves the Marlies.
In 2011 pro hockey returned with the relocation of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose and have been there since calling themselves The IceCaps.
I understand that it is important to have future talent close by in case of an emergency call up, but if you think about this for a second, your destroying a very loyal fan base. Mile One Centre was built in 2001 and has a seating capacity of 6,287 and has sold out every game since they became an AHL franchise for the second time back in the 2011/12 season. Ice Caps CEO Danny Williams said he always knew that it was possible the Winnipeg Jets organization would want it’s AHL farm team closer, and also stated that this will not be the last time the St. Johns area will see professional hockey. Williams also stated that they are optimistic that a replacement team will return to St. Johns and that he is prepared to go out and buy an AHL franchise to keep hockey in the city.
The City of Thunder Bay Ontario is in the works to build a Multipurpose Event Centre which can seat 5,700 spectators and will be able to host many other events, not to mentions there are two hockey teams very interested in moving to the area with one being the Jets organization. Curious to see if this is going to work and at this point the CBC, Jets Organization, and the American Hockey League have not yet confirmed this deal.