Florida Panthers To Return To The San Antonio Rampage

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Reportedly the Florida Panthers will announce a return to the San Antonio Rampage for the 2011-2012 season this week.

It would make sense for the Panthers to return to an AHL franchise that they helped build in in 2002 when the partnered with the San Antonio Spurs to create an AHL Franchise.  Interesting that Mike Santos now Assistant General Manager was involved then to… Mike Santos, then Panthers’ Director of Hockey Operations, joined the Panthers with the responsibility to secure an affiliation with an AHL team. Santos came with several connections to the league and his friendship with the AHL President Dave Andrews, who informed Santos of the Spurs search. Both parties contacted each other, and the two quickly realized they had the foundation for something.

“It was a great marriage because of their experience in Louisville and having their players all over the place, the inability to get everyone on the same page under one system.’  Said then Spurs Manager Rick Pych “Our situation was really looking for a team that wanted that sort of stability and wanted to do a long-term relationship where they could know that they would have a situation where they could have a good city, with a good facility and a good group who can operate a franchise that would help develop the players.”

This relationship ended in 2005 after the Spurs bought that Panthers out and signed a deal with the Phoenix Coyotes. At the time the thought was that the Panthers were looking to build an AHL team in Orlando. Obviously that did not happen and the team floated around different teams before setting down on Rochester last season. However it was clear the Americans wanted out of their deal with the Panthers this season forcing the Cats to find another place to bring the stockpile of draft picks Tallon has collected for development.

Rochester Americans President Lewis Staats announced last year that the club would not extend its affiliation agreement with the  Florida Panthers beyond the 2010-11 season….

“When we negotiated this agreement with Florida, it was agreed we would put a ‘re-negotiation date’ in it to ensure that both organizations had time to either investigate extending the terms of the agreement or provided sufficient time to explore other options,” said Staats. “November 1, 2010 was the agreed upon date, and as of today, Rochester has informed Dale Tallon, General Manager of the Florida Panthers, that we would not be renewing/extending the existing affiliation with Florida. “

This means the Panther had to find a home somewhere and it looks like it will be San Antonio.

What Are Your Thoughts on The Return to San Antonio?

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Topics: AHL, Florida Panthers, Mike Santos, San Antonio

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