Since the Vegas Golden Knights came into the NHL last June one of the things that was talked about is their minor league affiliation for the 2017-2018 season. Given that the American Hockey League has yet to announce any potential expansion for their current 30 franchise membership where would the Golden Knights partner up with during their first season as the league celebrates the next 100 years of existence.
Last November it was reported by that the St. Louis Blues organization were looking into moving their AHL Affiliate from Rosemont, Illinois where they currently play at the Allstate Arena and relocate them to the more modern Sprint Arena in Kansas City, Missouri. of KMOV Sports
It was reported by Blues Beat Writer Lou Korac who writes for NHL.com made mentioned that the St. Louis organization has plans to move the club in time for the start of the 2017-2018 season in which the AHL will celebrate it’s 79th campaign.
Additionally the move to Kansas City would mean the formation of a new ownership group headed up by former NHL defenseman and St. Louis Blues Tom Tilley and the son of Kansas City Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt Sr (Lamar Hunt Jr.).
So what does this mean for the Vegas Golden Knights going forward? I was early reported that the Vegas franchise would indeed considering entertaining the idea of becoming partners for the upcoming hockey season. This partnership could make sense for both sides.
Back in January Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review Journal reported that Vegas and Chicago were in talks with one another about forming an NHL-AHL relationship. To note that Chicago with 11 other AHL franchises are not owned by their NHL counterparts.
The Chicago Wolves ownership consists of Don Levin and Buddy Meyers both who are Windy City based business owners.
The former Hollywood Film Producer Don Levin established the Chicago Wolves back in the 1993-1994 AHL season with Buddy Meyers along with Grant Mulvey.
From then until today by sources closets to the story that it appears that the front runner is clearly the Chicago Wolves to be the AHL affiliate of the Golden Knights for 2017-2018 season.
Last night Vegas hosted an exclusive session with season ticket holders to talk about the current state of the organization and during that meeting George McPhee confirmed that the Golden Knights have primary control of all hockey operation activities.
“The deal that we are going to do is going to be an exclusive deal, we are the primary affiliate, and we are going to go into a market that has a good hockey history and the team has done well. We will supply our players, we may get some players from another club but the way that the deal would be structured is the affiliation is between us and the minor league club and we will decide what players come from the other clubs, if any.”VGK GM George McPhee
To what McPhee is referring by players from other franchises is the upcoming NHL Expansion Draft in June. He also added the following in terms of hockey decisions with the AHL club.
“We have full authority in all hockey matters and we will have final say on what decisions that are made. The ideal situation is to have an affiliate you can work well with and they make contributions and you make contributions and you build a real good team together. I like having a minor league club that wins. I think winning is a part of development. I like having young players in a winning environment.”VGK GM George McPhee
This makes sense in terms of creating that winning environment and culture at the AHL level. By enforcing that it will instill in the players who are playing in the minors what to expect when it comes time that they are called up to big show.
An official announcement regarding an AHL affiliation is scheduled to take place after the completion of the current NHL season.