Part II of Interview with AHL’s Bill Scott

Here’s Part II of Dan Canavan’s Interview with Bill Scott, the Director of Hockey Operations for the American Hockey League.  Click here to read Part I.

Dan Canavan: While each franchise is operated differently throughout the league, how are the teams’ operating costs typically shared between local ownership and NHL parent club?

Bill Scott: For the independent owners in the AHL, they will reach an affiliation agreement with a NHL club where the AHL club pays the NHL parent club an agreed upon amount of money for the use of the NHL parent club’s players.  Affiliation agreements can also include coaches, athletic trainers and equipment managers, etc.  It is dependent on the relationship between the two organizations and how they want their affiliation to operate.

DC: The NHLPA has been in the news a lot lately. How much does the uncertainly surrounding the NHLPA and its governing body affect AHL players?

BS: When players are playing in the AHL they are bound to the terms and conditions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that we have with the PHPA (Professional Hockey Players’ Association) and that minimizes the direct effect that the NHLPA’s proceedings have on our players.  However, 84% of the players in the NHL were developed in the AHL, so it is important for the players at our level to be aware of any developments that take place within the NHLPA since there is a great chance they will soon be a part of that association.

DC: The league is currently comprised for 29 teams, one short of the 30 NHL franchises.  Are there any plans to add a team for the 2010-2011 season that you can share with our readers?

BS: Our goal is to reach the 30/30 model (30 AHL teams and 30 NHL teams) as soon as possible.  We believe this is best not only for the American Hockey League but also for the National Hockey League as it will allow every NHL team to secure their own affiliate.  This would eliminate the situations where a NHL team has to spread their prospects out amongst a few different AHL teams.  Right now there is no news on this issue for the 2010-2011 season, however we are constantly looking at new markets where the AHL could be successful. 

DC: With the addition of Abbotsford to the AHL, the league has expanded to the Pacific Time Zone for the first time. How has the league expansion west affected scheduling and other team logistics?

BS: Scheduling certainly became more of a challenge this offseason with the addition of Abbotsford.  Fortunately for us they were terrific to work with and had great building availability which made scheduling games easier for us and the team.  We definitely wanted to minimize the number of road trips they would have to take due to the distance and cost of their flights.  Travelling such a long distance can also take its toll on the players so we did our best to give them ample rest time in between games when travel was involved.  We took the same consideration for the teams travelling to Abbotsford as well.

DC: How, if at all, is the AHL affected by the 2010 Vancouver Olympics?

BS: From a scheduling side of things we made sure that Abbotsford went on a road trip during this time.  The increase in cost and congestion around Vancouver and Abbotsford during that time would have adversely affected our teams so this made a lot of sense for everyone involved.  

We should see an influx of players sent to us from the NHL during the Olympic break.  NHL teams will likely want to have their younger players continue to play over the break so we expect some very skilled players to come to the American Hockey League for those couple of weeks. 

The Syracuse Crunch have taken the Olympic break as an opportunity to showcase the AHL through the first ever AHL Outdoor Game to be held at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, NY against the Binghamton Senators.  It should be a great event for the Syracuse community, the state of New York and the American Hockey League.

Dan Canavan is an attorney in Hartford, Connecticut.  He has appeared as an on-air guest with regard to the NHL and the Phoenix Coyotes bankruptcy proceedings on CBC Radio’s World Report.  Dan’s analysis and commentary have also been published in various media outlets including The National Post, The Windsor Star, The Star Phoenix, The Montreal Gazette, The Edmonton Journal, The Ottawa Citizen, The Vancouver Sun, The Province, Faceoff.com, and the Sports Litigation Alert, a leading sports industry publication which is circulated throughout the United States.  Dan is also the Carolina Hurricanes correspondent for The Hockey Writers.  You can follow Dan on Twitter @DanielRCanavan, and he can be contacted directly at dcanavan@ctsportsgroup.com or at (860) 665-3276

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