The Minor League Report

It's been a busy week for me outside of Icethetics. So I have a bunch of minor league jersey news to get through this afternoon.

Checkers and Canes join forcesOn Wednesday, it was officially announced that the AHL's Albany River Rats will be moving to North Carolina this fall, at the urging of their NHL affiliate, Carolina Hurricanes.

The club has been sold to Michael Kahn, owner of the ECHL's Charlotte Checkers. The River Rats will begin play in 2010-11 in Charlotte under the Checkers name, competing in the American Hockey League.

It's not clear what will happen to the ECHL franchise and its players. Capital District Sports CEO Garen Szablewski is efforting a team back to Albany for 2010 — hoping for an AHL franchise, using the River Rats name. I don't know the odds of that happening but it does appear there will be a couple dozen ECHLers without a team to play for when all this goes through.

Why is this Icethetics news? It will mean a new logo and jerseys in the AHL. No word yet on whether they're keeping the ECHL look, but it's a good one so they probably will.

Glads dress as Knights on pink iceSpeaking of the Checkers, they're playing the ECHL's Gwinnett Gladiators this weekend, who are knocking out two promotions at once.

It's Pink in the Rink Weekend, where the ice has gotten a nice cotton candy-colored coating. And they're celebrating minor league hockey history in Georgia's capital by wearing black and powder blue throwback jerseys in honor of the old Atlanta Knights of the IHL.

Gladiators' Knights throwback jerseyAs you can see here, they've kept the logo pretty much the same, changing only the team name, obviously. If you want to see more pictures of this one-time jersey, check out the Gladiators on Facebook.

And for the record, the Knights hold a special place in my heart as they were the original minor league affiliate of my Tampa Bay Lightning. That team saw the likes of ex-Bolts such as Cory Cross, Stan Drulia, Shawn Chambers, Roman Hamrlik, and even Brent Gretzky.

They went to the playoffs all four years they spent in Atlanta and even won the Turner Cup as league champions in their second season of existence. Why that couldn't translate to wins for the big club is beyond me. But they moved to Quebec to become the Rafales in 1996 and folded after two seasons.

I promise to be less verbose for these last two items.

Rebels specialty jerseyThe WHL's Red Deer Rebels will be wearing specially-designed jerseys on Friday, February 19 for Jerseys Off Our Backs Night.

You can see it modeled here in the photo (right) by the Rebels captain Colin Archer.

The proceeds from the jersey auction will benefit Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta. If you want to watch a brief video about the event, the Red Deer Advocate has you covered.

Fans will be able to bid on jerseys throughout the game. Winners will be led down to center ice to claim their sweaty prize following the game.

And finally, the OHL's Sudbury Wolves held their Pink in the Rink event this week with great success. They raised over $30,000 for the Janis Foligno Foundation and breast cancer research.

The Wolves' web site claims this is a photo gallery, but I can't seem to make it work. If anyone else has any luck, let me know. In the meantime, there's this.