First of all, major stick salute goes to Donny over at Litter Box Cats for sending this to me. It looks like the Rangers may be on the verge of changing their AHL affiliation from the Hartford Wolfpack to the Rochester Americans, who this week announced they will not extend their affiliation with the Florida Panthers, after Amerks ownership made some harsh comments regarding their poor relationship with the Cats.
The Biz of Hockey has the story, here are the highlights: (click link for full story):
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.
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."
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.
One of the early stops in Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella's coaching career was in Rochester, he was an assistant and a head coach there, winning the Calder Cup in 1996. Former Rangers coach Mike Keenan also coached the Americans to a Calder Cup in 1983. Also, Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark was an Amerk in the mid 70's.
Just some of the Americans' better known alumni are Maxim Afinogenov, Gerry Cheevers,Tom Barrasso, David Booth, and former Rangers Matthew Barnaby, Arnie Brown, Jeff Brubaker, Bryan Hextall, Grant Ledyard.
So it certainly looks possible that the city of Hartford could be losing hockey again. Hartford Islanders, anyone?