Adirondack Flames location to aid in player development
GLENS FALLS, NY -- When looking at a map and figuring out where Glens Falls is located, the first question a Calgary Flames fan may ask is why the new AHL affiliate is so far from it's parent team.
Google clocks the distance from Calgary to Glens Falls at 4,032.6 km. If one were take an ambitious journey and drive between the two cities, it would take approximately 38 hours. Flying in takes a fair share of time too.
That, however, is only a slight downside to having the team in upstate New York.
The lion's share of AHL teams are in the eastern half of North America. In fact, 20 per cent of AHL franchises are in New York state.
By placing their affiliate team in Glens Falls, the Flames have cut down the club's travel time dramatically. That, subsequently, increases the amount of time practice time substantially.
"The initial thought from the outside is, 'What the heck are you doing?'" Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving told CalgaryFlames.com. "And, to be quite honest, there could be challenges at certain points in terms of player recalls. It's not as convenient as calling up a player from Abbotsford.
"However, we only play 41 of our games in Calgary so there is opportunities where we could be somewhere else when a player is recalled. Second, and more important piece is, ultimately the reason you have your team out here is for development purposes."
With the Adirondack Flames being in such close proximity to several other AHL franchises, they can easily bus to games and return home the same night. Gone are the days when every road trip included a flight and a hotel stay.
"You keep the players on the ground. You get them in their beds more often," Treliving stated. "Ultimately, there is more practice time, more rest and recovery time, and a better development model."
Treliving places great emphasis on player development and creating a winning culture through all levels of the organization. For most prospects, the path to Calgary will include time in the AHL so he and rest of the hockey operations crew want to ensure the Adirondack Flames are a highly competitive group who push not only for playoff contention but postseason success.
"One of the exciting pieces for me is the prospect list that is being assembled in Calgary. We are going through the process of a building stage. I hate to say rebuild and all these types of things. We're in a development stage. We're going to try to speed that up as quick as we can. But there is a process to building a National Hockey League Stanley Cup team ... one of the most vital ingredients is what you do from a development standpoint.
"We have invested greatly - and will continue to do so - in developing our players. This team in Glens Falls will be the lifeblood. To get to Calgary, you will be going through Glens Falls. Some of the pieces and some of the prospects that we currently have in the system are exciting. When I was looking over this job over the last few weeks, as you dig in, there's some real exciting players in this organization."
The Abbotsford Heat featured any extremely young and tenacious roster in 2013-14 and the team was a postseason contender right from the start of the season. There are still a lot of question marks as to where various players will land when the puck drops on the 2014-15 campaign, Treliving expects the Adirondack Flames to carry that competitiveness and work ethic into Glens Falls in the fall.
"I guarantee you will have a team you can be proud of."