Abbotsford/Scranton – (ORIGINAL STORY June 2021) – The Vancouver Canucks and the City of Abbotsford reached a partnership agreement and officially confirmed that the club’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate will relocate to Abbotsford to start the 2021-22 season.
A Tweet from the Canucks hints at the team name to be unveiled Friday July 9. There are published reports of rumored names including the Canucks ( ie Abby Canucks) and Aeros. Again, that is speculation. On Thursday July 8, the Canucks Tweeted that there was a delay with the announcement and that the great unveil is now Wednesday July 14. Those in sports reporting would love the cliche of the “Baby Canucks”.
For more information on the agreement, check out the Q&A.
What are the terms of the agreement?
The agreement is between the City of Abbotsford and Abbotsford Arena Limited Partnership, a subsidiary of the Aquilini Investment Group. It is for an initial 5-year agreement with renewal options providing for a partnership for up to 20 years. The Abbotsford Centre will continue to serve as a community facility for a wide range of sporting events, trade shows, and cultural and entertainment events.
As part of the agreement, the City of Abbotsford pays $750,000 a year to Aquilini Investment Group for managing and operating responsibility for the Abbotsford Centre as a multi-purpose entertainment and sports facility.
Aquilini Investment Group will manage staffing, event bookings, ticketing and food and beverage management. This contract amount is a similar level to the subsidy that the City has been paying to operate the Abbotsford Centre in recent years.
This contract also includes revenue sharing where the City benefits from enhanced financial gains by sharing in the profits if there are an average of 5,000 tickets sold per regular season game.
What makes the deal with the Canucks farm team different than the deal with the Calgary Flames’ Abbotsford Heat?
This agreement differs from past agreements as the City of Abbotsford does not have a revenue commitment and does not assume the risk if revenue is not made. In 2014, the Abbotsford Heat contract ended by the City paying the Heat $5.5 million to get out of the remaining years of the contract. The decision was made as it was costing the City approximately $4 million in subsidies per year for the Heat and the facility.
With this new $750,000 a year contract with the Aquilini Investment Group and the ability for the City to benefit from revenue sharing, as well as the economic boost this will bring to our community, the City of Abbotsford believes this agreement serves the best interest of our community.
The Canucks and the City of Abbotsford launched a ticket drive inviting fans to get to the front of the line for the 2021-22 season with a $25 deposit and priority access to tickets at Canucks.com/AHL. Thousands of fans have already made their deposit for tickets next season and have signed up to receive the latest insider information about the Canucks AHL affiliate.
Information about ticket prices, schedule, team name, logo, and other details will be announced in the weeks ahead. Fans can sign up for the latest information at Canucks.com/AHL.
The AHL team will play at the Abbotsford Centre and will play in the AHL’s Pacific Division. Other teams in the division include: San Diego Gulls (ANA), Ontario Reign (LAK), Tucson Roadrunners (AZ), Colorado Eagles (COL), San Jose Barracuda (SJ), Stockton Heat (CGY), Henderson Silver Knights (VGK), Bakersfield Condors (EDM) and Palm Springs (SEA) joins the league in 2022-23.