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Alaska Aces = Blues ECHL Affiliate

From: UMASS Dude  
Date: 08-Jul-05
ACES ANNOUNCE NHL AFFILIATION
Alaska partners with St. Louis Blues, Peoria Rivermen (AHL)

Alaska Aces Press Release

Anchorage, AK - For the first time in franchise history, the Alaska Aces have entered into an affiliation agreement with National Hockey League and American Hockey League clubs, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with the St. Louis Blues and their AHL affiliate in Peoria, Ill., the Peoria Rivermen.

The Blues have a long history and rich tradition in the NHL, reaching the Western Conference Finals as recently as 2001 and appearing in three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals between 1968-70 under the direction of legendary head coach Scotty Bowman. St. Louis will begin a five-year affiliation agreement in 2005-06 with the Peoria Rivermen after moving the team from Worcester, Mass., where it was known as the Worcester IceCats for 11 years.

"I believe this is one more step in our progression toward being one of the top developmental teams in our league," said Alaska head coach Davis Payne. "This vote of confidence from the St. Louis Blues and the Peoria Rivermen further substantiates the direction and quality of what we've tried to achieve over the past couple of years, both in the environment provided for the players here in Alaska and in the opportunity for advancement through our organization."

St. Louis, under the direction of Senior Vice President & General Manager Larry Pleau, currently enjoys the longest streak of consecutive playoff appearances in professional sports at 25 years. The Worcester IceCats, meanwhile, advanced to the postseason nine consecutive times during its 11-year run.

"Our relationship with the Alaska Aces dates back to 2001 when they hosted the Blues pre-season training camp. The fans and the entire city of Anchorage treated us extremely well," said Pleau. "We look forward to adding the team's outstanding ownership and strong hockey atmosphere into the fold through this ECHL affiliation. The Aces will become an important part of our overall player development process."

Legendary former Blues player Bob Plager, as well as former NHL player and head coach and current Blues Professional Scout Bob Berry will represent the team during a formal announcement today in Anchorage.

Alaska, which finished second overall among 28 teams in last year's ECHL standings, figures to be entrusted with the development of a handful of St. Louis- and Peoria-contracted players during the 2005-06 season. The Aces open defense of their 2005 West Division Championship on Friday, October 21 against the San Diego Gulls at Sullivan Arena. The Aces finished with a club-record 98 points during the regular season and advanced to the National Conference Finals before losing Game Seven to eventual Kelly Cup Champion Trenton. For 2005-06 season ticket information, please call 258-ACES.

From: LB  
Date: 14-Jul-05

Wasn't the idea to move to Peoria to cut down on travel expenses? Now they have to get players to shuttle from Alaska to Peoria...Worcester still seems closer to me. At least it's in the continental US.


From: 210   210 is a registered live IceCat
Date: 14-Jul-05
Guess we can drop "cost cutting" as the reason the Blues sold, eh?

From: One Who Knows  
Date: 14-Jul-05
Under terms of the Rivermen deal with St. Louis, Peoria pays travel costs for players moving between ECHL and AHL levels. And St. Louis collects a substantial, undisclosed fee from Alaska for agreeing to assign secondary players there. It's a win-win for the Blues.

From: tom  
Date: 15-Jul-05
does anybody know where jon disalvatore will be playing next year

From: 210   210 is a registered live IceCat
Date: 15-Jul-05
If it were true--which is isn't.

From: One Who Knows  
Date: 18-Jul-05

lol....ahhhm, OK, you are welcome to revel in your ignorance on this. But it is true.

The Blues have never said anything about cost-cutting in their sale of the team.

What they have said, and what is true (no matter how much it hurts the good folks in Worcester to hear it) is that the NHL team:

1. Did not want to be in the business of operating the business end of a minor-league team anymore.

2. Did not believe Worcester was a viable, longterm market, based on a lack of corporate support and a high operating cost in its venue.

Hope the market gets another AHL team. If it doesn't, those who worked to block acquisition of an ECHL or UHL franchise for Worcester might have some explaining to do.


From: 210   210 is a registered live IceCat
Date: 18-Jul-05

The Blues out and out lied when they said they couldn't find a local buyer or investors.

The Blues did absolutely NOTHING in trying to get local corporate support, and while the cost was slightly above the AHL average the Blues were the ones that negotiated the lease they broke.

There's no way on God's green Earth Peoria is paying for any player's travel...that's something the affiliation agreement covers.


From: # 1 Cat Fan   # 1 Cat Fan is a registered live IceCat
Date: 16-Aug-05
Won't the suckers in Alaska be surprised when the Blues pull the rug out from under them.  What a "spin" !

From: anthony  
Date: 17-Aug-05

how many rookies can a team sign and how many can play. also is their a limit on how many have to play?

thanks


From: Wildcats11   Wildcats11 is a registered live IceCat
Date: 18-Aug-05
The Blues didn't make any effort to get any corporate support. They bought the team so they could prepare to move the team closer to St. Louis, or sell it to an ownership group from that area. They "destroyed" this team intentionally. From what I heard, we were lucky we had the team as long as we did, because they were ready to move them a few years ago.

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