The Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League announced today that they have extended their affiliation agreement.
The Pirates are currently in the second year of their original deal with the Sabres. The new extension is a long term agreement that re-affirms the commitment between the two franchises.
“Lyman (Bullard, the Pirates Chairman/Governor) and I are thrilled to share this great news with our fans, our sponsors and the entire community, who have experienced firsthand, over the past two seasons, the quality and exciting style of Buffalo Sabres hockey at the AHL level at the Cumberland County Civic Center,” Pirates Managing Owner/CEO Brian Petrovek said. “Greater Portland has embraced a group of world class players, coaches and team staff who have been and continue to be outstanding professionals and people both on and off the ice. We’re looking forward to our future together with high hopes and expectations as we continue to do our part to help develop future Buffalo Sabres and compete for Calder Cup Championships.”
Now, did Buffalo agree to this regardless of where the Pirates are next year, or did they agree to this because they'll have an affiliate in Albany? A little over a week ago a source told us Buffalo "supported" a move to Albany.
Pete Dougherty from the Albany Times Union, who has had his finger on the pulse of this from it's infancy, got some more more info from Times-Union GM Bob Belber today, who commented on the affiliation announcement.
“It’s good that they got the affiliation extended,” Belber said. “That doesn’t mean that they’re staying in Portland. It doesn’t mean that they’re coming here."
“The decision on whether they’re staying or moving still hasn’t been made. We’re still giving them information. As of this morning, they asked for a couple of more things, which we have since provided them. We’re working hard at getting this thing done.”
ATU:Sabres sign agreement without knowing AHL team's city