The partnership between the American and National hockey leagues holds a significance like no other. It’s a valuable asset for teams on both sides, providing opportunities for growth and development en route to championships, recognition and more.How, you may ask, do these partnerships hold up? After all, upon looking at a map of teams in the AHL, you’ll notice a good portion hosted in the Eastern part of the United States, with a few sprinkled in the west and Canada.
Here’s a few facts for you to ponder:
- The partnership with the most distance between cities is that between the Worcester and San Jose Sharks. Worcester plays in Massachusetts, while San Jose is allllll the way on the other side of the nation – 3,124 miles apart.
- A close second is that between the Manchester Monarchs and Los Angeles Kings (New Hampshire–California). That partnership is 3,049 miles apart.
- Another that comes close to 3,000 miles is the Winnipeg Jets, located in central Canada, and the St. John’s Ice Caps. The two cities are 2,982 miles apart, despite being one of only a few partnerships where both teams are located in Canada.
So, now you know the AHL/NHL partners that are farthest apart, but what about the closest? That would be – this should come as no shock – the Toronto Marlies and Toronto Maple Leafs. If you were to Google the distance between cities, it would be zero because, as their names state, both teams are located in Toronto. To give you just a bit of perspective compared to the others, plotting in the actual arenas shows a distance of just 2.0 miles.
Take into account that most cities would not probably be greatly suited to hosting both an NHL and AHL team, as well as a Major League Baseball team AND an NBA team. Toronto is a unique one in this way, and the largest city in Canada is able to support all of the teams.
Other than that, the closest teams are the Providence Bruins and their NHL affiliate in Boston, just over 50 miles apart, follow by the New York Islanders and Bridgeport Sound Tigers (68.3 miles).
While the decreased distance certainly makes recalls easier – I mean, Marlies players could pretty much WALK to the Air Canada Centre if they had to; or it’s only about a 10-minute streetcar trip – it doesn’t say too much for the number of recalls a team makes, but there is a slight difference.
San Jose made 20 recalls last season from Worcester, despite the cross-country distance; on the other hand, Los Angeles made just eight recalls! Toronto, on the other hand, made 28 call-ups; New York and Boston made 29 call-ups each.
(On a similar note, the injury-plagued Buffalo Sabres made 36 recalls from the AHL’s Rochester Americans, located 74.4 miles down route I-90.)
Although perhaps no deep conclusions can come from this sort of ‘sit down and map it all out’ research, it’s still interesting to look at, and consider how the distance may or may not factor into how the teams play and work together.