The Anaheim Ducks said the National Hockey League franchise will purchase the Norfolk (Virginia) Admirals of the minor league American Hockey League and relocate the team to San Diego.
The move by the Ducks is being done in conjunction with the move of other NHL teams’ minor league teams to the West Coast to form a Pacific division of the AHL.
The Los Angeles Kings are moving its team to Ontario; the San Jose Sharks are moving its team to San Jose; the Calgary Flames are moving its team to Stockton; and the Edmonton Oilers are moving its team to Bakersfield.
“With five new AHL teams in the state, today is a landmark day for hockey in California,” said Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli, who are the new owners of the San Diego team. “We are extremely pleased and proud to bring hockey back to the market.”
Samueli, 60, is the co-founder and chairman of Broadcom Corp., a semiconductor manufacturer based in Orange County. Last year, Forbes estimated his wealth at $2.2 billion.
The Ducks said it’s holding a San Diego Hockey Fest Feb. 22 from noon to 3 p.m. at Valley View Casino Center (the former San Diego Sports Arena) to celebrate the return of the sport, with the new season beginning this fall.
The free event will include the unveiling of the club’s name and logo, and other fun experiences intended to attract longtime fans and entice new ones.
San Diego has had a rich hockey history, starting in 1944 when the Skyhawks of the Pacific Coast Hockey League took flight. The Gulls, which were hatched in 1966, have been around in several incarnations, and played most recently at the Sports Arena from 1990 to 2006 when the team, then owned by the Hahn family, folded up its wings.