As the Heat fade out, Abbotsford’s tangle of spectacle and political ambition waits for a future
The City of Abbotsford used the mid-way point of its 10-year contract with the Abbotsford Heat to pay half the estimated losses the city would have needed to pay over five years ($5.5 million), releasing both parties from the deal.
The Abbotsford Heat won 5-3 against the Rockford Icehogs Saturday night. The team started and finished strong, with three goals scored in the first period and two scored in the third.
The Abbotsford Heat wrapped up their 12-game season series against the Utica Comets with two wins in a weekend series that featured strong performances from both Ben Street and Joni Ortio. The Heat had struggled in previous matchups with the Vancouver Canucks’ affiliate, losing seven of their last eight games overall against the Comets.
Most NHL players begin their careers in the minor leagues. After the excitement of draft day fades, the first professional step will often be reporting to their franchise’s AHL or ECHL affiliate, earning a fraction of the salaries promised by one-way contracts (AHL players typically earn $60-100,000 a year), developing skills and learning the game in the hope that they will one day get the call to the parent club.
With the Abbotsford Heat struggling for a playoff position in the tight Western Conference, losing nine of their last 10 games, the team is an example of the other side of what happens when an NHL team begins to try out its next generation, having given up core players to the shorthanded Calgary Flames.
Things are very fluid in Abbotsford right now, and that has been reflected in the team’s recent subpar record. The Heat have earned just two of a possible 12 points on their current home stand, suffering losses to conference rivals (the Texas Stars, Grand Rapids Griffins, and Chicago Wolves), all the while sliding down in the Western Conference standings.
One of the biggest decisions a young adult can make is picking a career, but the path you decide to pursue right away might not be what you want to do for the rest of your life.
Anyone who grew up with a brother or sister has seen first-hand the competitive nature of sibling rivalry, and how healthy competition can push athletes to perform at higher levels.
It’s been a roller-coaster couple weeks for the Abbotsford Heat, after a second-period collapse in the last game of their eight-game homestand led to their biggest home loss of the season, and the first game of the road trip was rescheduled due to the extreme deep freeze in Charlotte, North Carolina.