Following up on the “AHL Coming West” story John Hoven has been tracking here on MayorsManor over the past year, we have some fresh news to pass along, all the way from the East Coast. According to a very reliable source close to the situation, expect the San Jose Sharks to announce their piece of the puzzle shortly, with their AHL team moving from Worcester, Mass., to San Jose of all places.
After investigating options to relocate their AHL team to a myriad of Northern California cities – including Fresno, Sacramento, and Stockton – we’ve been lead to believe the team has decided to base their AHL operations out of the same building they use for their NHL team, the SAP Center for the first year. Where they go from there remains unclear at this time.
Perhaps, if attendance is decent, they will keep the team there. It certainly would have cost advantages, as the same ownership group has control of the team and the arena. On the other hand, they would have to give up dates that could otherwise be used for concerts and other entertainment options.
Last season, the average Sharks (NHL) game averaged 17,133, playing to a reported 97.6% capacity. This year, over their 15 home games thus far, the team has averaged 17,338, for a 98.7% capacity. According to attendance reports, they have sold out nearly every home game since the 2006-07 season. Thus, there remains a healthy appetite for hockey – at least at the NHL level – in the region.
Still, two other items reamin unclear at the moment. For starters, will their relocated AHL team keep the Sharks name. If so, would that create some confusion in the marketplace, having two teams in the same building with the same name?
Second, will they play their entire home schedule during the inaugural year of the AHL’s Pacific Division at the SAP Center or will that be their home base, with a few other games played in some of those aforementioned Northern California markets as a way of testing the waters?
Regardless, the dominos are starting to fall in what looks like a five-team division, including the Sharks, Kings, Ducks, Flames, and Oilers.
For more details on plans for the other teams, see the link below.
RELATED CONTENT: UPDATE: Where Things Stand as NHL Teams Prep for AHL West
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