Pro Hockey Returns to The Rock

Primary logo for the American Hockey LeagueAmerican Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced today that the league’s Board of Governors has unanimously approved the relocation of the AHL franchise owned by True North Sports & Entertainment Ltd. from Winnipeg to St. John’s, N.L., to begin play there with the 2011-12 season.

“The American Hockey League is excited to be returning to St. John’s,” said Andrews. “The people of Newfoundland and Labrador showed tremendous support for our league in the past, and we’re confident that passion will return to Mile One Centre this fall.”

Danny Williams, former NL Premier and leader of the St. John’s bid, announced an agreement with True North Sports and Entertainment shortly after the announcement of the relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg. Today’s announcment marks the official endorsement of the deal by the league.

The St. John’s club will be the top development affiliate of the National Hockey League’s new Winnipeg entry, which has been purchased by True North pending NHL approval.

There is still no word on what the team will be named. While the parent club has yet to decide what it will be called, Williams stated that one of the rumoured names will not be used in St. John’s.

“Too many negative connotations, with all the moose-vehicle accidents we have in this province,” said Williams. “We don’t want to be launching a team nicknamed Moose in September when there are reports of accidents involving moose all over the news.”

The St. John’s AHL affliate of the Winnipeg Whatchamacallits, will take on the same colour scheme and look of the NHL club, but not necessarily the name.

Could this be an indication that True North is leaning in another direction? Or, more likely, simply Danny Williams doing things his way that suits the local market best.

Likely this question will not be answered until, the NHL question is answered. In the meantime Hockey fans on The Rock can get set for the return of professional hockey.

The city of St. John’s hosted AHL hockey for 14 seasons from 1991-2005 as home of the St. John’s Maple Leafs.

Love to hear what your take is on the name of the new team.

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