The Rochester Americans used to be the only team in the American Hockey League to produce talent for two NHL franchises: The Buffalo Sabres and the Florida Panthers.
However, that changed last season. The Buffalo Sabres gave up their affiliation with Rochester and the “Amerks” are now connected solely with the Panthers.
Amerks owner, Steve Donner, who has fallen behind in payments to the franchise for player and arena use still wants to regain control, despite mismanagement of team finances.
Donner cut corners by refusing to sign players he would have to pay for exclusively and that put a damper on player development.
It was also reported that Rochester wanted to get out of the dual-affiliation agreement after the first year, but Donner refused, since the agreements in place saved him money.
Also, Rochester billionaire and native, Tom Golisano, wanted to buy the team, but Donner refused to sell to him.
The Sabres' decision not to put money into fielding a highly competitive team since the end of the lockout was also a major factor.
The Rochester market demands a very competitive team and the Sabres were not provided that over the past three seasons.
Moving forward, there are doubts they will provide more, as they have hinted that they will bring in prospects from other organizations. Among those other franchises are Dallas, whom they hope to draw from to fill out their AHL roster, as opposed to signing veterans.
Some say it just doesn’t make sense for Buffalo to lose their affiliation with a team only 50 miles away.
It was an easy transfer for an Amerk to head to Buffalo in a short car ride and now a three hour flight to Florida seems almost insane.
Buffalo now looks for their talent in Portland, Maine with the AHL Pirates.
Britney Milazzo is a Contributor for Bleacher Report.