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Hockey expands in California with 5 new farm teams

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Los Angeles Kings left wing Dustin Penner (25) maintains control of the puck against Chicago Blackhawks center Michal Handzus (26) during the first period of Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference finals, Saturday, June 1, 2013, in Chicago.
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Five new farm teams, part of the American Hockey League, are moving to California, bolstering the sport in a warm and sunny state that already supports three NHL franchises.

Already home to three NHL teams, California is set to get even more hockey action, as five farm clubs move to the Golden State.

California is quickly rivaling the Northeast and Upper Midwest as a bastion of professional hockey.

The LA Kings have been here since the late sixties, later joined by the San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks.  Now five teams from the American Hockey League are moving to California.

The AHL is described as being much like Triple-A teams in Major League Baseball. The clubs are moving mostly from the northeast, and they will play in cities across the state - San Diego, Stockton, San Jose, Bakersfield and Ontario.

NHL teams here say the new farm clubs will provide them with better access to younger players. They also expect the AHL teams to generate more interest in hockey among the already growing legion of fans.

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