DETROIT (AP) _ The Detroit Red Wings have suspended operations of its top minor league affiliate until the team can be relocated from Glens Falls, N.Y., to Rossford, Ohio.
The suspension will last at least a year until construction of a $48 million arena can be completed. The site is about five miles south of downtown Toledo.
The Adirondack Red Wings have been in Glens Falls for 21 years.
``The Red Wings’ relationship with the Glens Falls community has been tremendous,″ assistant general manager Jim Nill said in a statement. ``Our coaches, players and staff have long called this area home, making this a very difficult and emotional decision.″
The move means the Wings will be without an American Hockey League affiliate next season. The Red Wings will place their prospects on other AHL teams, officials said.
The Red Wings said having a competitive team in Glens Falls would require a substantial financial investment beyond what the facility and community can support.
``It had gotten to a point where salaries and operating costs had risen, and we couldn’t justify keeping the team in a small market any longer,″ Nill said.
Top-level salaries that were once $60,000 have risen past the $150,000 mark, he said.
The decision leaves Glens Falls searching for a United Hockey League or other minor-level professional league team to play in the Civic Center. Adirondack won four Calder Cup championships and enjoyed years of strong fan support until recently.
Team officials said declining attendance and the AHL’s trend of moving to larger markets contributed to the decision.
Glens Falls had been one of the longest-surviving host cities in the AHL. Only Rochester, N.Y., and Hershey, Pa., have had the same AHL franchise longer than Glens Falls.
``It was kind of one of the last small-town professional franchises going,″ he said. ``It’s just sad that the time has run out.″