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Colorado Eagles Approved As A New Expansion Team In the AHL

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … American Hockey League President and Chief Executive Officer David Andrews announced today that the Colorado Eagles have been approved as an expansion franchise for the 2018-19 season.

The Eagles will be the new primary development affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Colorado Avalanche when they begin play in the AHL’s Pacific Division at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colo., in October 2018.

The Eagles’ application for membership was approved by the AHL Board of Governors during the league’s Annual Meeting in July, and brings the AHL up to 31 teams for the first time.

Originally founded in 2003, the Colorado Eagles franchise has won three league championships, as members of the Central Hockey League (2005, 2007) and the ECHL (2017).

The AHL’s San Antonio Rampage, who are currently the Avalanche’s top affiliate, have entered into an affiliation with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues that will also take effect in 2018-19.

In operation since 1936, the AHL serves as the top development league for all 31 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame spent time in the AHL in their careers.

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ahl, colorado+eagles


Primis's avatar

Really interesting.  The arena in Loveland only holds 5289, and it’s not what would be considered a big enough market for the AHL normally.  The Fort Collins-Loveland MSA is only around 330,000.

The Eagles have done well in the CHL and ECHL (both AA) attendance-wise, but I’m uncertain if they’re a strong enough market for the “AAA” level.  Some comparable market sizes in hockey areas are South Bend, IN, Kalamazoo, MI, Evansville, IN, and Rockford, IL.

Posted by Primis on 10/10/17 at 01:37 PM ET

dreamsofhope's avatar

I can’t specifically speak to the market, how well they will do attendance wise, etc. But I can say from personal experience that these games are something a lot of people from areas surrounding Loveland/Ft Collins, as well as Denver, drive up to attend. It’s kind of a novelty event, where you get a different experience for a fraction of the cost, and you can make a day out of brewery tours, etc. beforehand/after. I know a lot of people who enjoy going to Eagles games, and I have gone plenty, long before you really even got a chance to see your favorite prospects.

Posted by dreamsofhope from Colorado on 10/10/17 at 02:17 PM ET


I wonder if the hike in ticket prices from the ECHL to AHL will affect attendance once the honeymoon period ends. Comparing Walleye tickets to Griffins tickets, there’s a pretty good jump for what I would call “good seats”.  Maybe having a smaller barn will keep demand up.

Posted by Steve1306 on 10/10/17 at 02:27 PM ET

The Meal's avatar

I don’t know what’s required to support an AHL fanbase, but I do know the Eagles have a very strong following for where they currently sit.  I believe the concern for them becoming an AHL club were building-related (capacity, amenities).  Will be cool having an AHL squad just up the street.

Posted by The Meal from Firestone, CO on 10/10/17 at 04:21 PM ET

dreamsofhope's avatar

Will be cool having an AHL squad just up the street.

I echo this. We should catch a game sometime

Posted by dreamsofhope from Colorado on 10/10/17 at 05:52 PM ET

The Meal's avatar

Yeah, let’s make it happen.

Posted by The Meal from Firestone, CO on 10/10/17 at 06:51 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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