St. Louis Blues prospects will be wearing Vancouver Canucks colours this season, as the pandemic has put them into an AHL partnership this season.
The Canucks and Blues announced that both teams will share the Utica Comets as their minor league affiliate this season. The Blues were left without an AHL team of their own after the Springfield Thunderbirds announced they were one of three teams to opt out of this season due to the pandemic.
“We are very pleased to partner with the Blues to find solutions that help both teams during this unique season,” said Canucks GM Jim Benning. “We have strong leadership and support in Utica and I believe our players and our teams will benefit from this partnership.”
“Due to the unique circumstances, we are pleased to partner with Vancouver and Utica for the upcoming 2020-21 season,” added Blues GM Doug Armstrong. “We trust that our players will be in good hands with the direction and leadership of the Canucks, Comets, and especially Robert, Ryan and Trent.”
The Canucks and Blues will fill roster spots on the Comets this season. Utica’s team and business operations will continue to be run by president Robert Esche, GM Ryan Johnson, and head coach Trent Cull.
“Vancouver and Utica have worked together seamlessly over the past eight seasons, and this experience has been no different,” said Esche. “We look forward to the opportunity to work with the St. Louis Blues in the same fashion as our Vancouver Canucks.”
The Charlotte Checkers (Florida Panthers affiliate) and Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators) also announced they are opting out of this season as the pandemic wreaks havoc on the AHL. The remaining 28 participating teams have been realigned into five divisions for the 2020-21 season as a result.
28 teams will be participating in @TheAHL's 2020-21 season, which opens Feb. 5
— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) January 4, 2021
Four teams were granted permission to relocate for the season, as the Binghamton Devils (New Jersey), Ontario Reign (Los Angeles), Providence Bruins (Boston), and San Diego Gulls (Anaheim) will play in rinks closer to their NHL parent teams.