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