March 18, 2010

Pirates deny change pending


— By

Staff Writer

If the Buffalo Sabres intend to replace the Anaheim Ducks next season as the NHL parent of the Portland Pirates, it's news to Brian Petrovek, the managing owner/CEO of Portland's AHL team.

Petrovek denied a report the Sabres, who may be about to end their 29-year relationship with the Rochester Americans, have entered into an affiliation agreement with the Pirates.

''I don't know anything about the Sabres going anywhere,'' Petrovek said.

''We're trying to win a championship here, and that's the aim of both our franchise and the Anaheim Ducks.''

In a report posted Monday on the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle newspaper's Web site, Randy Sexton, assistant general manager of the Florida Panthers, said his team was willing to take over as the sole NHL parent for the Americans next season.

Currently, both the Panthers and the Sabres stock Rochester with players.

Sexton said the Panthers have been told Buffalo already has an agreement to stock the Pirates with players next season. But Petrovek denied that was the case in a telephone interview Monday night.

''I don't know anything about what Randy Sexton is saying, and that is Randy Sexton's business,'' he said. ''What goes on in Rochester, Buffalo and Florida, I don't know anything about.''

The Pirates are in the third year of a five-year affiliation agreement with Anaheim. However, both teams have the option of ending the relationship following this season.

Originally, Oct. 1 was set as the deadline for either party to reveal its intentions regarding the future of the affiliation.

In a statement prepared on Oct. 1 but never released to the media, Petrovek said: ''Both the Pirates and the Ducks have agreed to extend the Oct. 1 deadline and do not see the need to determine any new deadlines at this time.''

Monday night, Petrovek said he still stood by that statement, in which he also said ''the relationship between the two organizations is healthy and strong after two seasons. Our full attention, however, needs to be on the start of the 2007-08 season we plan to continue conversations in the weeks ahead with the Ducks' management about our respective longer term plans.''

Anaheim officials declined to comment on the latest report about the Ducks ending the affiliation agreement with the Pirates.

''We stand by the statement issued by the Pirates,'' said Alex Gilchrist, Anaheim's director of communications.

Anaheim General Manager Brian Burke last April denied there were any problems between his organization and the Pirates' owners.

''There's no friction between the two organizations,'' he said. ''The fit has been wonderful.''

However, Burke said the distance between Portland and Anaheim sometimes makes its difficult to move players between the teams.

''The only difficulty is geographic,'' he said. ''The only issue is, does it make sense to have your farm league team on the opposite coast?

''But that is the only issue. The relationship between the Pirates and Anaheim is great.''

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 725-8795 or at:

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