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Forget Abbotsford, Canucks Extend AHL Affiliate Deal With Utica Comets

Utica/Vancouver/Abbotsford (with files from Canucks Media Relations @Canucks/ Vancouver Canucks) – Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced on Staurday that the Canucks have extended their deal with American Hockey League affiliate, the Utica Comets. The deal in place will allow for an extension of up to an additional six years.

“We are very pleased to continue our partnership with Utica,” said Jim Benning, General Manager, Canucks Sports and Entertainment. “The Comets share our organization’s level of commitment and philosophy in player development, providing a strong environment for growth. We believe the culture in Utica, combined with the great fan support and atmosphere at games, will continue to be beneficial for the players in our system.” 

“We couldn’t be happier to extend and grow our well-established partnership with the Vancouver Canucks,” said Rob Esche, President, Utica Comets. “It has been an honour to play a small part in the future of the Canucks organization, and we look forward to continuing to establish a culture and atmosphere here in Utica that aligns with the goals and values in Vancouver.”  

The Comets inaugural season as the Vancouver Canucks AHL affiliate began in the 2013.14 season. Utica won the North Division championship and reached the Calder Cup Final in 2014/15. The Comets also hold the AHL sellout streak record with 148 regular and playoff games (April 10, 2015-present), surpassing the previous record of 121 games.

This kills off the rumours that Canucks’ owner Francisco Aquilini was possibly interested in the purchase of the Abbotsford Centre and moving the Comets to Abby. A deal could not be hammered out after the Heat left for Glen Falls, New York and later, Stockton, California. That was in 2014 but the Canucks rumour never really went away.

Abbotsford was the Calgary AHL affiliate between 2009 and 2014. When the team left town, the city ended up with a $5.5M buyout and additional losses of $7M on top of that (over the term of ownership and lost revenue). Poor attendance plagued that team.

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