Montreal’s AHL affiliate is currently in St. John’s Newfoundland but that won’t be for long.
After this season, they’ll be moving their affiliate to Quebec not too long after they moved their affiliate from Hamilton, Ontario to Newfoundland. They’ll end up spending two seasons in St. John’s before moving to Laval, Quebec.
“The message was loud and clear from fans looking for a meaningful identity for their team while paying tribute to Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard as one of the Canadiens’ most legendary figures” – Vincent Lucier
The Canadiens are moving their affiliate closer to home, a move several NHL teams have been doing in recent seasons to allow prospects to be called up and play the same day in emergency situations. Teams who have made such moves in recent seasons include San Jose, Los Angeles, and Anaheim. Toronto’s affiliate plays a couple miles away from Air Canada Centre and the Shark’s share the same building with their affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda.
The new team will be called Club de hockey Rocket de Laval, after Maurice “Rocket” Richard. The new name was chosen via fan vote and according to Place Bell (the under construction arena where the team will play) president Vincent Lucier “It was a heavy favorite among some 850 different names submitted.
“The message was loud and clear from fans looking for a meaningful identity for their team while paying tribute to Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard as one of the Canadiens’ most legendary figures,” said Lucier.
The new team’s logo and color pattern will be chosen in the upcoming months, but it expected to keep the traditional blue, red and white scheme.
This isn’t the first time a hockey team team in Quebec has been named after Richard, as the Montreal (and later P.E.I.) Rocket played in the QMJHL from 1999-2003 in Montreal and 2003-2013 on Prince Edward Island before undergoing another name change to the Charlottetown Islanders.
According to a Canadiens press release, nicknames that were second and third place were Rapides and Patriotes.