Fraser Valley abuzz that Vancouver Canucks owner has designs on Abbotsford hockey team, arena
METRO VANCOUVER — The buzz continues to escalate throughout the Fraser Valley real estate community that Francesco Aquilini has his sights on buying the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre and the land it occupies. By extension, Aquilini would cut a deal with the Calgary Flames that would result in the Vancouver Canucks’ No. 1 farm team, the Chicago Wolves, switched to Abbotsford.
Calgary’s American Hockey League affiliate — the Abbotsford Heat — are locked into a 10-year supply fee agreement with the City of Abbotsford and after three years, it’s been a disaster. The Heat played four post-season games this season in their home building that can accommodate 7,046 fans for hockey and drew an average of 2,389.
There is a hockey board meeting scheduled for Sept. 7 at 2 p.m. in Abbotsford. Ken King, president of the Calgary Flames, will be there. Lane Sweeting, chairman of Fraser Valley Sports and Entertainment as well as Abbotsford Heat Hockey Ltd., says that while he has not been told anything by the city about a potential Aquilini takeover, it would not surprise him. Aquilini did not respond to messages left for him Friday.
HERE ‘N’ THERE: Bob Lenarduzzi’s Whitecaps alumni reunion Wednesday at BC Place Stadium was much better organized than the team’s 2-0 loss to Dallas at field level. Players dating back to the 1970s took part in the gathering in a private suite. “Our data base isn’t quite where we want it,” Lenarduzzi said. “The goal is to emulate the Canucks Alumni, acknowledged as the best in the NHL.”
The Whitecaps were allotted 1,500 tickets for Saturday’s match in Seattle. Lenarduzzi figures another 2,000 will be gobbled up by Whitecaps fans who have made the trip for the 1 p.m. kick-off. Whitecaps play-by-play man Peter Schaad tweeted Global TV anchor Jill Krop during her Friday noon newscast that “oodles” of Whitecaps fans were streaming out of the Duty Free Shop during their wait at the border crossing.
SHORT HOPS: Phil Adams has left the B.C. Lions after eight years as director of corporate partnership sales to join the Whitecaps in the same capacity … David Pratt launches his nightly sports talk show on CKNW Monday (7 to 9 p.m.) with former B.C. Lions defensive lineman Nick Hebeler as his CFL insider and 16-year veteran punter Mitch Berger as the show’s NFL correspondent. Pratt is chasing Jim Hughson to be a regular NHL contributor.
END ZONE: The ‘little boy’ in Dan Jukich, veteran track announcer at Hastings Racecourse, was never more evident than when Yakima designated hitter Jacob House hit his first home run of the season at Nat Bailey Stadium. Jukich, who turned 59 Friday, monitored the flight of the ball over the right-field fence, bolted from the stadium on the dead run, retrieved the baseball in the parking lot and presented it to House at the end of the night. What’s more fun than that?
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