GLENS FALLS -- The Calgary Flames will be sending their AHL team to Glens Falls next season, according to multiple media reports.
WNYT-TV NewsChannel 13 cited sources as saying the organization and city have an agreement in principle in place. The move would have to be approved by the AHL Board of Governors, likely at the meeting scheduled for Monday.
Time Warner Cable News later cited Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Peter Aust as saying the Flames will bring their AHL team to the Civic Center.
Ed Bartholomew, president of EDC Warren County, said the report was premature and there is no signed agreement. He would not comment on whether there is a verbal agreement. There has to be “approval by the city, approval by the American Hockey League and Calgary to sign an agreement and we are still in those stages,” Bartholomew said.
“There is no signed agreement and American Hockey League has not approved it,” he said. “To say the team is coming when it requires American Hockey League approval, we cannot speculate what the Board of Governors is going to do.”
Bartholomew would not confirm the move will be brought up at the May 5 meeting, saying they were not privy to AHL’s plans. “All I can say is that we are encouraged that Calgary has expressed interest,” he said.
Calgary Flames President and CEO Ken King told the Calgary Herald that Glens Falls is “the top candidate right now, but not the only one.”
Attempts to reach Glens Falls Mayor John “Jack” Diamond after the report became public were unsuccessful. Earlier on Wednesday, asked if any officials or representatives of Calgary had contacted him, Diamond said, “If they had, I couldn’t tell you.” On Monday, he said he hadn’t had any contact with the organization.
The Flames announced their AHL team would not be returning to Abbotsford, British Columbia, on April 15. Calgary’s assistant general manager toured the Civic Center earlier that month.
The Civic Center will be without a tenant after the Adirondack Phantoms officially move out in June, though the team would be willing to move earlier if there were an incoming tenant.
The Phantoms played five losing seasons in Glens Falls and received strong community support, especially in their final months.
Murray said Glens Falls was the perfect city for the AHL given the size of the city, location and cost of living. His educated guess was that Glens Falls would have another AHL team next year.
Diamond has expressed concern the city can afford to operate the building without a full-time tenant.
The city exchanged proposals with a team that officials refused to name in January, but nothing came of that.
From both a financial and development standpoint, Glens Falls would make sense as a landing place for the Flames’ AHL team. The city’s close proximity to other teams means both more time on the ice, less on the road and a much smaller travel budget. This season, the Phantoms spent only 13 nights in hotels. The rest of their travel were day trips. The closest team to Abbotsford is nearly 2,000 miles away.
Staff writer Maury Thompson contributed to this story.