Ducks reportedly seek to move minor league team to San Diego

Ducks said to be working to buy Virginia minor league affiliate, move it to San Diego

The Ducks are orchestrating the purchase of their minor league team in Norfolk, Va., according to reports, and intend to move the team to San Diego’s sports arena, the Valley View Casino Center.

As Times hockey columnist Helene Elliott reported last month, the American Hockey League is pursuing a Pacific division, with as many as five NHL teams committing.

The Ducks’ purchase was characterized Wednesday as a “near certainty” by two Norfolk city sources who spoke to the city’s newspaper, the Virginian-Pilot.

Norfolk owner Ken Young told the newspaper he was approached by the Ducks in October about selling his franchise, but said Wednesday the deal was not finalized. A hockey official, familiar with the negotiation but unauthorized to speak publicy about them, confirmed the deal was not complete.

The American Hockey League is the premier minor league, with affiliates all tied to NHL squads.

By moving to San Diego, the Ducks would obviously improve the convenience of player recalls, as many minor leaguers this season have been forced to embark on tiring cross-country journeys from Norfolk or other points east and then find themselves inserted in that night’s lineup in Anaheim.

Young told the Virginian-Pilot that the AHL will discuss a new Pacific division at its Jan. 25 meeting in Utica, N.Y.

The Bakersfield Californian reported that the division will have teams in Bakersfield (Edmonton Oilers), Ontario (Kings), Stockton (Calgary Flames) and San Jose (San Jose Sharks).

It’s believed Norfolk will land the Oilers’ ECHL affiliate, which currently plays in Bakersfield.

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