Golden Knights Purchase AHL Team, Intend To Move Them To Vegas
The Golden Knights have purchased the AHL San Antonio Rampage and intend to "relocate the minor league club to the Las Vegas Valley" in time for the '20-21 season, according to David Schoen of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. Terms of the deal "were not disclosed." The Rampage, who were affiliated with the Blues, have played in San Antonio since '02 and were purchased in '05 by Spurs Sports & Entertainment. The Golden Knights signed a five-year affiliation agreement with the AHL Chicago Wolves in '17, but Wolves Chair Don Levin last week said that the partnership was "set to dissolve." Schoen notes the sale "continues a trend of NHL teams buying and relocating their top minor league affiliate closer to home." The Golden Knights would be the 20th NHL club, including Seattle, to own an AHL team. The new farm team will be "based at the under-construction Lifeguard Arena in Henderson and is expected to play its home games at Orleans Arena" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 2/7). In Las Vegas, Justin Emerson notes more details on the sale, "including the team name, logo and arena will be announced" following the NHL BOG's approval (LAS VEGAS SUN, 2/7).
IMPACT ZONE: In San Antonio, Greg Luca notes the Rampage are in the midst of their 18th season in the city, and are ranked 12th in attendance so far this season, averaging 5,938 fans per home game. After playing their inaugural game in '02, the Rampage "grew to host more than 7,000 fans per game in three consecutive seasons" from '11-14. But the turnout has "gradually declined since that peak," and the current average for this season "would be the franchise's lowest attendance" since '09-10 (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 2/7). In Chicago, John Dietz notes the Wolves now "must find another NHL franchise to partner with." They "could go back" to the Blues, where they had a partnership from '13-16. But Levin said that he has "no interest in rekindling that relationship." Dietz notes one of Levin's "primary wishes is for the Wolves to field a competitive team every year." The Wolves' affiliation "doesn't figure to be the Blackhawks" either, as their contract with the AHL Rockford IceHogs runs through '21-22 (Chicago DAILY HERALD, 12/7).