Monday, October 22, 2007

AHL looks deep to the heart of Texas

The AHL, looking to find 30 franchises for 30 parents is keeping an eye on the Texas possibilities, with Austin tapped as potentially the next franchise to join up with the NHL's top developmental league.
Austin currently is home to the Ice Bats who play in the revitalized Central Hockey League, which features a wide assortment of mainly southern and southwestern cities (Iowa and Ohio stand alone in northern climes) coming in for the cool temps of the rink and some of that old time hockey entertainment.

The Winnipeg Sun's Ken Wiebe, picked up the trail of the potential AHL addition while putting together a piece on the league and it's plans for the historic loop, examining all, from scheduling to the desire of Manitoba hockey fans to see more of a variety of AHL teams and more opportunities to catch up with former Manitoba born players.

The AHL has been on a serious American expansion thrust over the last few years with only Toronto, Hamilton and Winnipeg remaining as north of the border franchises in the league that once controlled the hockey market in Atlantic Canada with a hotly contested Canadian division.

Now instead of down east fare such as lobster and fish as the pre game meals, the menu is taking a definite southern tinge, Grits, Steaks and Tacos are more likely to be found as the AHL moves on from San Antonio and Houston into Austin and beyond.

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