Abbotsford Heat hockey team: are they moving?

The owners of the Abbotsford Heat hockey team are expected to address rumours the Calgary Flames farm team will be moving to New York, after years of financial losses for the city.

Calgary Flames farm team has been costing Abbotsford millions in recent years

The Abbotsford Heat left in April after the city bought the team out because it was suffering millions in financial losses due to poor attendance. (CBC)

The owners of the Abbotsford Heat hockey team are expected to address rumours the Calgary Flames farm team will be moving to New York, after years of financial losses for the city.

Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman has scheduled a news conference for 10 a.m. PT with the CEO of the Calgary Flames Ken King, and the president of the Abbotsford Heat Ryan Walter.

In 2009 the city signed a ten-year deal with the Heat to guarantee almost $6 million a year in revenue, but the Heat has a tough time filling the city-owned 7,000-seat Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre

The Heat has faced major hurdles winning fans, including a lack of local interest — as most AHL franchises are located in the east — and the team's affiliation with the Calgary Flames, a rival of the Vancouver Canucks.

With the team pulling in around 2,000 fewer fans per game than the minor hockey league average, taxpayers in Abbotsford have covered  $5.4 million in losses in four years, plus the costs associated with owning and running the stadium.

  • 2012-13: $1.66 million
  • 2011-12: $1.76 million
  • 2010-11: $1.37 million
  • 2009-10: $450,637

The Heat's contract with the city lasts until 2019.

Last year the owners of the Vancouver Canucks failed to reach a deal with the city to move their Utica Comets farm team from New York to Abbotsford, but there is now speculation a new deal could be in the works.

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