*logo image courtesy of the San Jose Biz Journals*
The San Jose Sharks are one of the Western Conference franchises who announced the shift of their AHL affiliates a little closer to home — that is, a little closer to the west coast.
Teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins have AHL affiliates just a short drive away from their home arenas; while recalls are made on the road as often as they are from the team’s home city, it’s hard to deny the convenience of having an entire roster of prospects just up the road. For teams out west, the guarantee that AHL recalls would take hours to arrive made it hard to argue that teams with closer affiliates had a slight advantage.
San Jose is bringing their affiliate straight to their city, though — and since their old affiliate also used sharks as their logo, the new AHL franchise had to decide on a new mascot.
Enter the San Jose Barracudas.
The Barracudas and their new logo were announced via the Biz Journal, who tried to assure fans that this isn’t an elaborate April Fool’s Day joke. The team’s move to the Silicon Valley was officially announced back in January, but this is the first anyone’s seen of the team’s possible new jersey-front design — and it’s not half bad. I’m going to stumble through trying to spell ‘barracuda’ correctly for the first half of next season, but it’s actually a pretty cool concept.
The Barracudas are one of five teams that have been shifted out west so far, and the Arizona Coyotes have already broken ties with the Portland Pirates in Maine (with many speculating that they’ll take up and partner with the San Antonio Rampage until they can bring a franchise closer to the desert). Of the five teams, things are slowly starting to trickle in news-wise. The Ontario Reign will be the affiliate for the Kings for next season, while the San Diego Gulls will serve as the AHL club for the Anaheim Ducks (a nod to the San Diego Gulls of years and leagues past). The Stockton Thunder of the ECHL will now be the Stockton Heat of the AHL (and will, logically, be linked to the Calgary Flames), leaving only the Edmonton Oilers and the San Jose Sharks to officially announce their new affiliate.