True North Sports & Entertainment, in conjunction with St. John's Sports & Entertainment, is pleased to announce a three-year agreement for a new American Hockey League affiliation in the city of St. John's, NL. Effective immediately, the AHL team now located in St. John's, NL will operate as the affiliate of Winnipeg's newly acquired NHL franchise.
Operations of St. John's new AHL team will be led by Danny Williams, former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Glenn Stanford, former General Manager of the St. John's Maple Leafs and more recently, President of the Hamilton Bulldogs. The St. John's franchise will continue to be owned by True North Sports & Entertainment Limited.
"Excitement about the hopeful arrival of a new AHL team to St. John's has been growing immensely in recent weeks," said Danny Williams. "We are proud to be able to bring the team to this region-a region with such strong hockey roots and connection to the sport."
"We are excited to partner with Glenn Stanford and Danny Williams in the opportunity to once again return the American Hockey League to St. John's, NL with our new affiliation," said Craig Heisinger, recently named Director of Hockey Operations and Assistant General Manager of Winnipeg's NHL franchise. "The city and its hockey fans have already proven St. John's is a perfect environment to develop successful professional hockey players. Through our years operating the Manitoba Moose, we at True North have established a tradition of winning in the American Hockey League while sending players to the National Hockey League level. We know that will be carried forward with the new St. John's organization."
The team, formerly known as the Manitoba Moose, came to Winnipeg from Minnesota in 1996 after being purchased by True North Chairman, Mark Chipman. Beginning in 1996 as a member of the International Hockey League, the Moose were led behind the bench by current Anaheim Ducks Head Coach Randy Carlyle and former Moose captain and current Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach Scott Arniel. The Moose were later accepted into the American Hockey League in 2001 as the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks and then rose to become one of flagship franchises in the AHL for 10 AHL seasons. Craig Heisinger was appointed as the team's General Manager in 2002-03 and served in the position until the end of the 2010-11 season. Under the managerial guidance of Heisinger, the Moose held a record of 381-254-35-50, reached the Calder Cup playoffs eight out of nine seasons, won 10 playoff series, and reached the Calder Cup Finals in 2009. Current NHL players who developed as Manitoba Moose include the likes of Canucks Ryan Kesler, Alexandre Burrows, Alex Edler, Cory Schneider, Jannik Hansen, Mason Raymond, New York Islanders forward and Calder Trophy candidate Michael Grabner, Montreal Canadiens goalie Alex Auld, Dallas Stars Ray Sawada and Mark Fistric, as well as Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mike Brown. Overall the Manitoba Moose finished their 15-year run with a franchise record of 644-526-111-50, as well as 13 playoff series victories and wins in 65 postseason games.