Calgary’s getting another professional hockey team, at least for one season.
The Calgary Flames announced today that their AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat, will temporarily relocate to Calgary for the 2020-21 season due to cross-border travel restrictions caused by the pandemic.
“We are appreciative of the City of Stockton and the San Joaquin County Public Health Office for the work they put forward in attempt to accommodate the team for this season,” said Flames assistant general manager Brad Pascall. “However, the complications of cross-border travel in the face of COVID-19 has brought us to our decision today.”
Recalling players from northern California is not feasible given Canada’s 14-day quarantine law for incoming travellers, necessitating this move. Along with the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks, the Flames are one of three Canadian NHL teams that have AHL affiliates located in the United States.
The Stockton Heat will keep their name but will play out of the Scotiabank Saddledome, following all NHL COVID-19 protocols, working closely with the Alberta Ministry of Health to ensure a safe work environment, the Flames announced.
Like the NHL, the AHL will likely form an all-Canadian division, meaning that the Heat will play all its games against Belleville (Ottawa Senators), Laval (Montreal Canadiens), Manitoba (Winnipeg Jets), and Toronto (Toronto Maple Leafs).