The owners of the Abbotsford Heat hockey team have confirmed the Calgary Flames farm team will be moving, after years of financial losses for the city.
Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman joined CEO of the Calgary Flames Ken King and president of the Abbotsford Heat Ryan Walter, at the announcement on Tuesday morning.
In 2009 the city signed a ten-year deal with the Heat to guarantee almost $6 million a year in revenue, but the Heat has a tough time filling the city-owned 7,000-seat Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre
The Heat had faced major hurdles winning fans, including a lack of local interest — as most AHL franchises are located in the east — and the team's affiliation with the Calgary Flames, a rival of the Vancouver Canucks.
With the team pulling in around 2,000 fewer fans per game than the minor hockey league average, taxpayers in Abbotsford have covered $5.4 million in losses in four years, plus the costs associated with owning and running the stadium.
- 2012-13: $1.66 million
- 2011-12: $1.76 million
- 2010-11: $1.37 million
- 2009-10: $450,637
Last year the owners of the Vancouver Canucks failed to reach a deal with the city to move their Utica Comets farm team from New York to Abbotsford, but there is now speculation a new deal could be in the works.