Could the partnership between the Winnipeg Jets and St. John’s IceCaps go a little longer than expected?
If you’re an IceCaps’ follower, you’ve known the story for months: The Jets, who own the American Hockey League franchise in St. John’s, have announced they plan to move their minor-league operations further west, closer to Winnipeg at the conclusion of the 2014-15 AHL season.
The Jets initially indicated the AHL team will wind up in Thunder Bay, Ont., but that’s contingent on construction of a new arena, and that project seems to be a long ways off from completion, if ever.
That would mean the Jets would have to find another — at least temporary — location for relocation.
Winnipeg itself has been suggested and there certainly have been moire than a few instances of an NHL team and its AHL affiliate in the same city, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies being a current example.
However, the whisper in the wind is that the Jets may seek to buy some time by staying put in St. John’s for another season with an extension of their current agreement with the Danny Williams-headed IceCaps, a deal that expires at the end of the upcoming season.
That would also give Williams, Glenn Stanford and the IceCaps extra time to find another franchise and affiliation to replace the Jets, whenever they leave.
For now, this all falls in the rumour category, although a query about the situation to the IceCaps elicited a response that, while far from an affirmation, wasn’t a denial either.
“The IceCaps are working diligently with an aim to keeping an American Hockey League team in St. John’s,” said Dave Salter, the IceCaps’ director of communications.