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AHL READY TO POUNCE SHOULD THE NHL DISTANCE ITSELF FROM IHL
Published March 3, 1995
"The NHL is moving toward having little or nothing to do with the IHL," writes Bob McKenzie in this morning's TORONTO STAR. The party line, according to NHL Senior VP Brian Burke: "At this point in time, we do not view the IHL as a competitor." But with IHL expanding into NHL markets and using veteran players to attract larger crowds, McKenzaie reports many NHL GMs are concerned about the league's value in developing young talent. Nine of the 26 NHL clubs presently supply the IHL with talent, a "good many" of which are considering a move to the AHL. Fifteen of the 16 AHL clubs are currently affiliated with NHL teams, but AHL President Dave Andrews is pursuing expansion and "openly wooing" teams with IHL ties. Andrews: "Our major problem is we don't have a great inventory of cities that would be ready to play next season. We're prepared to go outside our geography, to the midwest or the south, to accomodate the NHL teams who are interested in moving over." McKenzie reports the NHL "will be working much more closely with the AHL on marketing and sponsorship projects. NHL contact with the IHL will be kept to the bare minimum" (TORONTO STAR, 3/3). For more, see Insider Interview, #21.