Two of the three Canadian teams in the American Hockey League are moving this fall. But at least they won't be leaving the country.
The St. John's IceCaps and Hamilton Bulldogs announced Thursday will be playing in new cities next season.
First, the IceCaps will move back to Winnipeg to play in the same arena as their NHL parent club, the Winnipeg Jets — just like the new situation in San Jose.
You'll recall it was the arrival of the Jets in 2011 that prompted the relocation of the Manitoba Moose to Newfoundland in the first place. Does this mean we're getting the Moose back? They did have a great logo.
True North Sports & Entertainment owns both the Jets and IceCaps, so it makes sense for them to have their operations closer together. But no official word yet on what the team will be called. The organization says that announcement is coming soon.
While the IceCaps are vacating St. John's, the city will not be without an AHL team next season. The Bulldogs, now owned by their NHL affiliate, the Montreal Canadiens, will take their place — and their name!
CBC News reports the Bulldogs franchise will adopt the St. John's IceCaps moniker but new jerseys will be unveiled in the coming months. Presuambly, the logo will be adjusted to reflect Montreal colors as well.
The move to St. John's is only temporary, though. The Habs plan to eventually move the AHL franchise to Quebec, ideally by 2017, once a new arena is built.
So what about Hamilton? Michael Andlauer, the owner of the Bulldogs until yesterday, has purchased the Belleville Bulls of the OHL and will move them to Hamilton.
Just like the IceCaps, the new team will take on the nickname of the departing team. So, the OHL will welcome the new Hamilton Bulldogs in the fall.
Unfortunately for hockey fans in Belleville, this game of one team replacing another ends there.
Thursday's news brings the number of AHL teams relocating next season to a whopping seven. Plus three more ECHL teams and an OHL team also on the move.
That's a lot of shaking up for one summer. Below is a handy chart to get you caught up on the changes.