Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

IceCaps sticking around St. John's

Jets' plan to relocate AHL affiliate delayed

  • Print

THE Winnipeg Jets want their AHL prospects playing closer to home but have postponed a decision with Wednesday's announcement they'll stay in St. John's an extra year.

The Jets' AHL affiliate will remain in the Newfoundland and Labrador capital through the end of 2015-16.

"Certainly we're happy with the arrangement and the affiliation agreement and how our players have been treated and the quality of the organization," Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said Wednesday. "We've talked about the logistical concerns and those certainly still remain from a geographical standpoint -- the time and the travel -- but at the end of the day we're excited to be able to partner with them and know that our players are playing in a first-class city and with a first-class organization. What happens long-term, those things at the AHL level are always very fluid."

The original deal when the AHL's Manitoba Moose moved to St. John's and became the IceCaps in 2011 -- after the NHL relocated the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg to become the Jets -- was for three years. True North Sports & Entertainment, which owns both franchises, added a one-year extension, which was to expire at the end of this coming season.

True North chairman Mark Chipman said last winter the organization would be ending its deal in St. John's because the geography of the relationship was too difficult and an opportunity had arisen to become a main tenant in a proposed new arena in Thunder Bay.

The move would put the Jets' top affiliate within driving distance and direct flights of Winnipeg. It would make the movement of players simpler and quicker, as well as making it easier for management and scouts to keep a close eye on the team's prospects.

But the Thunder Bay arena project is not underway and is unlikely to be completed until the start of the 2017-18 hockey season at best. Financing and other negotiations are not finalized for the proposed 5,700-seat facility that is expected to cost $106 million.

"It certainly remains a long-term solution," Cheveldayoff said. "Ultimately, internally what we've talked about is that until we can find a long-term solution, find something that makes sense from the development standpoint, from a logistical standpoint, we're going to take our time and look at all options. Thunder Bay certainly addresses the logistical concerns, the closeness to Winnipeg."

Speculation recently increased that the Manitoba Moose would be reborn next fall and the MTS Centre would be at the very least its temporary home. The Moose existed in Winnipeg between 1996 and the 2011 relocation and became a member of the AHL in 2001.

That's been considered and Cheveldayoff said the club has been contacted by a number of cities proposing an affiliation.

At the start of the Winnipeg-St. John's marriage, IceCaps GM and Jets assistant GM Craig Heisinger said good relationships would overcome the geography. Cheveldayoff said the relationship has not deteriorated.

"There are some geographical things," he said. "Over time, you continue to evaluate those, and economical things and different practical things but as far as relationships go, if the relationships between organizations had soured, we certainly wouldn't be extending our affiliation."

This extension will do two things for the Jets. In the short term, it will give a boost to the team in St. John's, where ticket sales were lagging with the reality of the team's departure at the end of the season. Every game at Mile One Center, the team's home, has been sold out since the franchise moved there.

The other matter for True North is it will let them see how things will evolve with the expected shift of several AHL franchises for the 2015-16 season. No agreement has been finalized but a move is underway by several western NHL clubs to have their affiliates near the West Coast and as many as six teams could be playing in an AHL Pacific division by next fall.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 4, 2014 D3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Trouba talks about injury and potential for Jets

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Jia Ping Lu practices tai chi in Assiniboine Park at the duck pond Thursday morning under the eye of a Canada goose  - See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge Day 13- May 17, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A nesting goose sits on the roof of GoodLife Fitness at 143 Nature Way near Kenaston as the morning sun comes up Wednesday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 07- Web crop-May 09, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Do you plan to watch Saturday's boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google