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Will Wolves Become Canucks’ AHL Affiliate?

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CHICAGO (CBS) The Atlanta Thrashers’ move to Winnipeg has left the Chicago Wolves without an NHL affiliate and according to a Chicago Tribune report, it’s possible their new affiliate could be the Vancouver Canucks.

That’s right, the Blackhawks’ bitter rivals to the west could have a minor league affiliate right here in Chicago.

The Thrashers had been the Wolves’ NHL affiliate since 2001, but the franchise’s new owners, True North Sports and Entertainment, also own the Manitoba Moose, currently the Canucks’ AHL affiliate. With the Thrashers moving into the arena the Moose currently play in, the report indicates the AHL team will likely relocate and affiliate itself with Winnipeg’s new NHL team to keep both teams under the same ownership.

Such a move would leave the Canucks looking for an AHL affiliate and the Wolves looking for an NHL affiliate. Still, an alignment with the Canucks wouldn’t be the best public relations move for Chicago’s second hockey team and according to the same Chicago Tribune report, the Wolves have already been contacted by six NHL teams and narrowed that list down to three candidates.

“With this Manitoba thing, it’s going to be a domino effect with everyone jockeying for cities very quickly,” Wolves General Manager Wendell Young told the newspaper. “We need to figure out which one is best for us and to make sure we mesh with the NHL team.”

A Chicago hockey team “meshing” with the Vancouver Canucks doesn’t seem very likely.