We've had plenty of fun ‘round these parts with the American Hockey League's Iowa Chops. The second we learned of the name of Anaheim's new minor league affiliate, the fun began. From the ‘Baby Backs' to the ‘Pork Bellies', the Chops have a special place in our hearts here at Puck Daddy.
But despite the amount of press the team garnered this past season, it wasn't enough for the Anaheim Ducks to decide to continue the working agreement for another year according to the OC Register. Last summer, Anaheim signed a two-year affiliation agreement with Iowa, but the team did not meet its financial goals so now the Ducks need to find a new minor league home. The Chops also struggled on the ice finishing twelfth in the AHL's Western Conference.
The news of Anaheim's decision was a shock to Kirby Schlegal, CEO of Schlegal Sports who owns the Chops:
"It’s still new news to us,” said Schlegel, whose Dallas-based company also owns a triple-A baseball team in Tacoma, Wash., and the Texas Tornado, a North American Hockey League team.
“We’ve just got to figure out exactly which direction we go from here. We’re looking at all the options and staying positive about everything. The news caught us off guard.”
According to Rob Gray of the Des Moines Register, the need for the Chops to find a new parent club is vitally important for as there are large monetary reasons for doing so:
"Schlegel Sports, or any possible successive owner of the Chops, must adhere to a lease and non-relocation agreement with Polk County that mandates an AHL franchise remain in Des Moines through 2014.
If the Chops were unable to meet that requirement next season, Polk County officials could begin legal proceedings to collect $12.5 million in damages from Schlegel Sports. That penalty is specified in a 10-year contract that began in 2005 when the Iowa Stars debuted at Wells Fargo Arena."
With hockey franchise relocation in the news of late, let me be the first to throw Puck Daddy's hat into the ring should the Iowa Chops be looking for new ownership in the near future. Dollar beer and pretzels nights wouldn't just be one night every few weeks or so, they'd be every night!