The AHL's Board of Governors unanimously approved the relocation of the AHL franchise owned by True North Sports & Entertainment -- previously called the Manitoba Moose -- from Winnipeg to St. John's, N.L., for the 2011-12 season.
"The American Hockey League is excited to be returning to St. John's," AHL President and CEO David Andrews said in a press release. "The people of Newfoundland and Labrador showed tremendous support for our league in the past, and we're confident that passion will return to Mile One Centre this fall."
The city of St. John's hosted AHL hockey for 14 seasons from 1991-2005 as home of the St. John's Maple Leafs.
"Excitement about the hopeful arrival of a new AHL team to St. John's has been growing immensely in recent weeks," said Danny Williams, the former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, who will run the operations of the team along with veteran AHL executive Glen Stanford. "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."
The AHL franchise owned by True North Sports & Entertainment Ltd. -- which has yet to choose a new name -- was looking for a new home after it was announced that the Atlanta Thrashers would relocate to Winnipeg, pending approval by the NHL Board of Governors at their next meeting on June 21.
The Moose previously played at the MTS Center in Manitoba, which will be the Winnipeg NHL franchise's new home arena.
The Moose were the top developmental affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks. However, the St. John's club will now serve as the top developmental affiliate of the NHL's new Winnipeg entry, which has been purchased by True North pending NHL approval. The Canucks will now seek new AHL affiliation.
"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."