The Cleveland Barons AHL franchise has ended their operation here in Cleveland after this past season. Their NHL affiliate, the San Jose Sharks, have moved the team and started a new operation in Worcester, Massachusetts.
“The Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena wish the Sharks organization all the best with their move and thank them for the years of hockey they helped make possible here in Cleveland. We still believe in the future of pro hockey at The Q though, and will immediately begin working toward that potential.” – Len Komoroski, President, Cleveland Cavaliers
When will Cleveland’s new pro hockey team begin play?
Cleveland’s new pro hockey team is projected to begin play in the fall of 2007 at the beginning of the 2007-08 AHL season. The year that will pass without hockey at The Q will give the organization time to put itself in the best position to be successful on and off the ice with the new franchise.
There are 40 total home games for each AHL team during the regular season.
Does the AHL have an All-Star Game?
The AHL All-Star Classic showcases the league’s top talent each year in an All-Star Skills Competition and All-Star Game. The 2006 AHL All-Star Classic was held in the MTS Centre in Winnipeg on January 21 and February 1, featuring the Canadian AHL All-Stars battling PlanetUSA AHL All-Stars in a game that was nationally televised in the U.S. and Canada.
What is the AHL playoff structure like?
The AHL features an exciting 16-team playoff run consisting of the top eight teams in both the Eastern and Western conferences. Four teams will make the postseason from each division within the two conferences (Eastern – Atlantic/East division and Western – North/West division). With the AHL looking at expansion, the playoff format could change in the future.
An ownership group led by Cavaliers majority owner and Quicken Loans Chairman and founder Dan Gilbert has purchased the Utah Grizzlies American Hockey League (AHL) franchise. The currently inactive AHL franchise will now be operated in Cleveland and call Quicken Loans Arena, also known as “The Q,” its home ice. Gilbert is also the operator of Quicken Loans Arena. The purchase was unanimously approved today by the AHL’s Board of Governors at its annual Spring Meeting. The franchise will not begin play until the 2007-08 season.
Quote from Cavaliers Majority Owner Dan Gilbert
“We believe pro hockey can have a very successful future in downtown Cleveland, especially as part of the Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena family. We’ve got a great deal of confidence in the market, and we’ll approach this the same way we approach all of our business – give it the support it needs, build it the right way and make it something really fun that people want to be a part of.”
Quote from Cavaliers President Len Komoroski
“We think the equation for pro hockey success is present here and we will start work immediately in laying a solid foundation to develop the franchise. Having ownership that is firmly committed to this is a big factor. The additional time to put the pieces in place by waiting to take the ice in 07-08 is also part of the formula. Our market has engaged with pro hockey at a very high level in years past and we’re confident our team will generate that kind of support again.”
A strange course of events took place in creating the resurrection of the Barons in 2001. In 1991, the Gunds announced that they were planning to move the Minnesota North Stars to the Bay Area. The NHL vetoed the move, but agreed to dissolve the North Stars-Barons merger and allow a new expansion franchise to take some of the North Stars roster to San Jose as the NHL’s newest franchise, the San Jose Sharks.
In 2002, the San Jose Sharks, who were born from the Cleveland Barons, returned the Barons to Cleveland, but as an AHL team. The Sharks moved their AHL affiliate and farm team, the Kentucky Thoroughblades who played in Lexington, Kentucky to Quicken Loans Arena (named Gund Arena at the time) and renamed them the Cleveland Barons.
The new Cleveland Barons played at The Q for four years, but after the 2005-06 AHL season, the Barons’ franchise will pull up its stakes and head to Worcester, Massachusetts and be rechristened as the Worcester Sharks.