Arizona Coyotes to bring AHL affiliate to Tucson


The Arizona Coyotes announced on Tuesday morning that the organization is finalizing the purchase of their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Springfield Falcons. With the purchase, the Coyotes intend to relocate the Falcons from Massachusetts to Tucson, Arizona.

The deal is pending the approval of the AHL Board of Governors and signing a lease agreement. If approved and barring any complications, the team would be in Tucson for the 2016-17 season playing in the renovated Tucson Convention Center (TCC).

The soon-to-be acquired team would join the AHL’s Pacific Division which is made up of the affiliates of the San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames.

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There have been rumors of a deal like this happening for awhile now, and Craig Morgan of Arizona Sports released a report mid April predicting that this deal was not only real, but imminent.

A move such as this makes sense for the Coyotes in a myriad of ways. From day one of ownership, Coyotes front office has reiterated the desire to grow the sport of hockey in Arizona. They’ve implemented various programs to do so, but bringing a professional team representing the Coyotes brand to Arizona’s second-largest market should help in a big way in that endeavor.

Having the Coyotes prospects just a couple of hours down the I-10 makes them much more accessible to the fanbase, Coyotes player management personnel and coaching staff and of course, will help when a call up or emergency occurs. These were difficult prior to today’s announcement due to the Falcons being located on the complete opposite side of the country.

The Tucson relocation also helps create a relationship between the University of Arizona and Coyotes. Arizona State University has already partnered with the Coyotes and that relationship has been on display in the public for about a year now. There are even rumors of the Coyotes getting a new arena on or near campus that would be shared with ASU. Well, now the Coyotes would have a foundation for a relationship with U of A as the TCC is home to the U of A Wildcats American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) hockey team.

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It wasn’t too long ago that hockey fans in Arizona were fearful of losing a hockey team, but today, they’re getting another one. The hockey landscape is certainly changing in Arizona and this acquisition is more evidence of IceArizona’s commitment to hockey in the desert.