The Vegas Golden Knights bought the San Antonio Rampage on Thursday and plan on moving them to Nevada for the 2020-21 season. Pending the expected AHL approval, Vegas will make the Rampage their affiliate, officially ending the Wolves’ three-year relationship with the team.
San Antonio is the affiliate of the St. Louis Blues, who were the Wolves’ parent club from 2013 to ’17 (and sent a handful of players to Rosemont during the 2017-18 campaign). But even though the Blues don’t have an affiliate set for next season and the Wolves are in need of a parent club, it doesn’t mean a reunion is guaranteed.
“We are aware of the news regarding Vegas purchasing the San Antonio organization,” Blues president and general manager Doug Armstrong said in a statement. “The Blues will finish the remainder of the 2019-20 season with San Antonio as our AHL affiliate. In the meantime, our pursuit of a new minor-league affiliate will begin immediately.”
On Saturday, Wolves chairman Don Levin told the Sun-Times there was “no scenario at all” where his franchise would continue with Vegas for next season.
In a statement Thursday, Golden Knights president of hockey operations George McPhee said the move will “effectively centralize our hockey operations and streamline our processes in terms of player development, scouting, transfers and staffing.”
“It’s been a goal of the Vegas Golden Knights to have our AHL team located in our market since our team’s inception,” McPhee said in the news release. “We are now closer to realizing this goal than we have ever been before.”
Later Thursday, the Wolves suffered a 3-2 loss to the Manitoba Moose in Winnipeg. Forward Lucas Elvenes and defenseman Nic Hague scored for the Wolves (22-21-3-2), who had a 2-1 lead midway through the second period.
But Wolves defenseman Jake Bischoff was assessed a tripping penalty with 4:06 to play — and Manitoba needed just 20 seconds to take advantage. Kristian Vesalainen’s centering pass was redirected by C.J. Suess’ goal as the forward surged through the slot to seal the game with 3:46 left.
Goaltender Oscar Dansk (16-7-2), who made 28 saves, suffered his first regulation loss since Nov. 29.
The Moose (22-27-0-0) took the early lead on forward Danny Moynihan’s rebound goal at 15:43 of the first period. Elvenes tied it at 1-1 on the Wolves’ only power play of the game at 1:24 in the second period. With Ben Jones blocking goaltender Eric Comrie’s vision, Elvenes whistled a low shot that squirted past Comrie.
The Wolves seized the lead on Hague’s first goal of the year at 4:55 of the second. Hague collected an Elvenes pass in the defensive zone and raced past two Moose players and shot a wrister into the top corner of the net.
The Moose tied it at 2-2 on Michael Spacek’s rebound goal at 14:00 of the second.
Contributing: Sun-Times wires