Atlantic Canada to bid farewell to AHL
ST. JOHN'S (CP) - There'll be a band playing in front of Mile One Stadium before the game and the 50-50 draw is being bumped to a guaranteed $5,000 for the final St. John's Maple Leafs regular-season AHL game on April 16.
The team is moving to Toronto to become the Marlies before next season, ending a 35-year Atlantic Canada presence in the best minor pro hockey league in North America.
St. John's has four home games next week to usher out an era. The AHL team began play in the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1991, when there was an Atlantic Division that also included Fredericton, Cape Breton, Moncton and Halifax.
For a game Monday against Rochester, a trip for two to Cuba is a lure. The Amerks stick around to play against Wednesday, where there'll be a band before the game and during the first intermission.
The good times continue to roll on Friday with Edmonton supplying the opposition. There'll be a giveaway of a trip for two to Jamaica.
For the Saturday finale, again against the Roadrunners, the band Siochana provides the music on the street, there's the big 50-50 draw and other prizes.
When the AHL begins play next season, it'll be the first time since 1970-71 that no team from Canada's East Coast has been entered.
The now-defunct Saint John Flames won the Calder Cup four years ago, the Cape Breton Oilers were 1993 champions, the New Brunswick Hawks hoisted the Calder in 1982, and the Nova Scotia Voyageurs took titles in 1977, 1976 and 1972.
That's all history now, and the St. John's Maple Leafs soon will be, too.