ABBOTSFORD (NEWS1130) – One media outlet in Utica reported it as iron-clad fact: the Abbotsford Heat would be pulling up stakes for New York State next hockey season.
But the trouble with facts is that sometimes, they’re just not that factual.
The rumour started over the weekend in blog posted on the Utica Observer-Dispatch’s website, which stated the Flames had signed a 10-year deal to bring their AHL affiliate team to the local arena.
It seems plausible; the Abbotsford Heat has had chronically low attendance, among the worst in the league, and the city has been on the hook in a deal that makes taxpayers responsible for any shortfall in profits.
Late last summer, there were also rumours the Vancouver Canucks were interested in snapping up the AHL team.
The first cold water dumped on the current chatter was from Abbotsford Heat president Ryan Walter, who told The Province that nobody from the Flames had spoken with him about relocating the farm team.
The Flames organization then issued a statement denying the rumour and saying how great their current relationship is with the Abbotsford Heat.
Then came the final body check: One of the members of the board that oversees the arena in Utica told the media the story is false — they have approached a number of teams about bringing the AHL back to the city and whole thing was taken out of context.