The New York Rangers will likely change their AHL affiliation from the Hartford Wolfpack to the Rochester Americans beginning in the 2011-’12 season, a source close to the situation told Biz of Hockey.
This week, co-owner of the Rochester Americans Lewis Staats said the team will not extend its affiliation with the Florida Panthers past the 2010-’11 season, leaving the team a free agent. Rochester ownership made harsh comments this week concerning their relationship with the Panthers. Co-owner Curt Styres said he wants a partnership not a dictatorship, while Staats said the team’s best option is to search for a better affiliation.
According to the source, the Rangers, who reside approximately six hours from Rochester, are unhappy with their relationship with the Wolfpack and are very interested in becoming the parent club of the Americans. Rumors surfaced that the Wolfpack might not be returning in February when the Albany River Rats, the AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes, were relocated to North Carolina. The Albany Times Union said, “Among the teams rumored to be looking elsewhere are the Hartford WolfPack, owned by the New York Rangers, and Lowell Devils.”
River Rats owner Walter Robb also implied the Rangers were in the market to find a new affiliation and mentioned the possibility of the Rangers taking over the River Rats.
Syracuse has also been rumored to be another suitor for the Rangers, the Syracuse Post-Standard wrote in March, “The Rangers own their own franchise in Hartford and would have to sell it or put it in suspension if they want to pair up with Dolgon in Syracuse. It’s unclear how much the Rangers might have to pay to get out of their current deal with the Wolf Pack.”
Though details of the deal have not yet come available, it appears the Rangers will be moving their AHL club back upstate (the team was once affiliated with Binghamton), just not to Albany or Syracuse.
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Matthew Coller is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, and is a freelance writer. He can be followed on Twitter
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