The Peoria Rivermen are no more, but that hasn’t stopped the St. Louis Blues from focusing on their AHL investment. Yesterday, the St. Louis Blues announced that they have reached a three-year agreement with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL.
Recently the St. Louis Blues sold the Rivermen to the Vancouver Canucks who plan to move the team to Abbotsford this upcoming season. The Canucks had previously had an agreement with the Chicago Wolves making them the likely candidate for the Blues to partner with.
Doug Armstrong seems pleased with the transition and had this to say, “They’re a top American Hockey League franchise and to be associated with such a winning organization is going to be very beneficial for the Blues. Peoria is a great hockey market and we’ve been there for a number of years, but our belief is from a hockey operations standpoint moving forward, the organization in Chicago, the ownership group, the facility they play in … it just seemed like the right time to make the move for us.”
When Tom Stillman and company purchased the St. Louis Blues they made it clear that their goal was to cut costs within hockey operations to try and get the team to a point where it can earn money and become financially stable. The sale of the Rivermen has created a cost-saving solution to the Blues AHL concerns, plus the Chicago Wolves are owned by Don Levin allowing the Blues to save on operating costs.
The Wolves joined the AHL in 2001 and has one two Calder Cups since then (2002 and 2008). Throughout the franchise’s 12 seasons they have qualified for the postseason eight times and have never had a losing season. The home of the Wolves is located in Rosemont, Illinois at the Allstate Arena. Some critics would be concerned with the prospects playing in the suburbs of a major city, but others would argue that it is an atmosphere that will help players adjust to what life will be like in the NHL.
Chicago Wolves GM Wendell Young said, “There was a view from Vancouver that they were going to move on and Doug called and sat down with my owner and we had a conversation, and it just went from there. Just knowing the reputation of Doug and the management here, the organization, and knowing that it was a good fit for us, we knew what we wanted.”
Let’s hope that this partnership is one that will serve the Blues well in upcoming seasons.
LET’S GO BLUES!