Hawks fans can howl at the Wolves

Now Chicago hockey fans can boo the Vancouver Canucks every day. Or at least their prospects.

Adding another chapter to one of the fiercest rivalries in the NHL, the Chicago Wolves announced an affiliation with the Canucks as their minor league affiliate in the AHL through the 2012-2013 season.

Are Blackhawks fans, or at least Chicago hockey fans, going to plunk down their money -- let alone root – for prospects of the most hated team in the league? What’s next? The Kane County Cougars and St. Louis Cardinals doing business?

But the Wolves had to make a move when the Thrashers, their previous affiliation, moved from Atlanta to Winnipeg.

The funny thing is the Canucks probably couldn’t go to any NHL city without some backlash. They have become hated by far more than Chicago. Those loud boos you heard at the draft in St. Paul, Minn. over the weekend came whenever the Canucks made a pick. Think about that, they were booed at the draft. And though they are in the same division, it’s not like the Wild and Canucks have several decades of animosity towards each other like the Hawks and Red Wings. In fact, Minnesota fans should hate the Hawks more going back to their rivalry with the North Stars, but that’s not the case. It’s the Canucks who everyone dislikes.

Consider when the Wolves host the Rockford IceHogs: They should probably be prepared for a road atmosphere at a home game against the Hawks’ affiliate. And to recall a player from the minors for a game in Vancouver it will take four hours for him to arrive. It’s not the furthest distance between an AHL and NHL team in the league, but it’s far enough.

On the surface the match doesn’t seem to be a good fit, but the Wolves are a first class organization, so anyone can understand why an NHL team would want to be associated with them. But why would the Wolves want Vancouver? Why would anyone?