While we've been understandably paying more attention to the happenings in Minnesota (and Houston) -- and me with Phoenix -- there have been some more strange things going on up in Des Moines with the non-existent Chops.
As you might remember, Anaheim suddenly ended its affiliation with the Chops, and it came out that the owners of the Chops had failed to make agreed affiliation payments to the Ducks. It also came out that the owners of the Chops used the franchise as a collateral for a loan in 2008, which is a violation of AHL rules.
And this week, the owners informed Des Moines officials that they want to sell the AHL franchise -- possibly to Dallas -- move the team out of Des Moines, then replace the team with a CHL franchise. Des Moines officials (and the people who operate the arena) aren't too thrilled by this plan, and for now, they plan to hold the team owners to a contract signed two years ago which locks the owners into a 10-year non-relocation agreement forbidding the team from moving during the terms of the lease. If the team were to move, then the county would be entitled to liquidated damages, which are currently listed at about $12.5 million.
I'm interested in seeing how this plays out as, it's possible, the AHL could be locked into 28 teams for awhile because of this. This ownership group has burned through two NHL teams in two years, and with the financial shenanigans involving them and the Ducks, I can see other NHL teams being a little hesitant to get into business with them. And I can see the AHL being hesitant to continue doing business with these guys, though, since the guys own one of the 30 AHL franchises, there's not much the AHL can do about it. And with Tom Hicks' financial problems, you've got to wonder if he would be willing eat the $12.5 million in liquidated damages along with the cost of purchasing the team.
But frankly, I've got no idea of what's going to happen with this team. That's the hockey business though, I guess. Fun isn't it.