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The return of professional hockey to San Diego this fall following a nine-season absence was confirmed Thursday.

The American Hockey League made what is described as a “major announcement” for the 2015-16 season in San Jose. The announcement confirmed that five teams in hockey’s top minor league will move to California, including the Norfolk (Virginia) Admirals to San Diego, according to reports published in many media outlets.

The San Diego team would be the top minor league affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks and play at the Valley View Casino Center, the only venue in San Diego County appropriate for professional hockey.

The Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers are seeking to have their AHL teams in cities closer to their parent teams to reduce the travel time for players called up from AHL teams to NHL teams.

AHL teams are also expected to move to Ontario, Bakersfield, San Jose and Stockton.

San Diego has not had a professional hockey team since the San Diego Gulls of the ECHL folded in 2006 after ongoing negotiations to sell the team in time for the 2006-07 season failed

—City News Service

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