The AHL has approved relocation of True North's AHL team from St. John’s, NL, to Winnipeg, MB, beginning with the 2015-16 season.— Winnipeg Jets PR (@WpgJetsPR) March 12, 2015
The AHL is returning to Winnipeg and you should be excited.
Winnipeg may not be a large city, but that is no reason to think that another professional hockey team can thrive in the -40 temperatures.
Here are three reasons why the AHL in Winnipeg, will thrive.
Not everyone can afford to watch the Jets play live, and that is unfortunate. A lot of die hard fans in Winnipeg can't say they have seen them play live. With an AHL team in Winnipeg, a more affordable version of pro hockey would be available with a average ticket price of roughly 20 dollars which is quite reasonable. The Jets have an 8,000 person season ticket waiting list, I am sure a large chunk of those people would buy tickets to see the future of the Jets organization play. In a hockey crazed market, there can never be enough hockey. Events like team windups, birthday parties and such were very popular while the Moose were around, but due to high demand in seats, the Jets can't hold those events for people. With an AHL team in place, they could host for large groups of kids and be more involved with the community.
Draft and Develop.
As the Jets are starting to see progress through the draft and develop model, not many fans really have a good grip on the prospects in the Jets system. It is hard to find a place to watch IceCaps games and because of that people's thoughts on prospects usually rely on word of mouth and online scouting reports. With an AHL team in Winnipeg, fans will be able to see the top prospects grow and develop before making the NHL. This will give fans an opportunity to get a first hand look as to what the future might hold. This move benefits the prospects as well. They can be in touch with management and development staff on a daily basis. The Jets will have their farm team right under them and the young players in the system can learn the ways of the big club much quicker.
It never really made sense for the Jets to have their affiliate half way across the country. Last minute call ups became next to impossible. If an injury happens on game day they can simply have someone switch dressing rooms rather than catching a 3 hour flight from St Johns. The Jets get a big win with this move because they can oversee the entire franchise from one city. The MTS IcePlex will be occupied with practices from either professional team daily which is a plus for the fans. That means more open practices to the public and more access to the fans.
The AHL returning is a good thing, for everyone. In a city like Winnipeg that lives and breathes hockey, having two teams in the two best leagues in the North America, is an even better thing.