Abbotsford AHL team chooses Canucks as team name

The Vancouver Canucks’ new AHL affiliate in Abbotsford will also be known as the Canucks, the team announced today.

The minor league team will retain the Canucks’ green and blue colour theme but use the “Johnny Canuck” logo (an alternative logo for the NHL club) as its main symbol.

Observers have said that the move of the Canucks’ AHL team to Abbotsford from Utica, N.Y. - where it was known as the Comets - would provide the team with a number of advantages, including a financial opportunity to expand the Canucks brand further into the Fraser Valley.

Abbotsford previously hosted the AHL team of the Calgary Flames from 2009 to 2014. The team (the Abbotsford Heat) faced challenges drawing fans in the Lower Mainland due to the fact the Flames are a major rival of the Canucks.

The move is also expected to bring improvements in the Canucks’ operations, since player movement, assessment and overall management by the big club of the minor league team all becomes easier with both teams within hours’ driving time of each other - without having to cross an international border.

The latter point proved to be a major hinderance to operations last season, when COVID essentially broke off player shuttling from the NHL level to the AHL due to the border closure. With Abbotsford Canucks’ establishment, only two out of the seven Canadian NHL teams (Calgary, Edmonton) now have AHL affiliates south of the border.