The Express were introduced in 1981 as an expansion team in the AHL, playing their home games out of the Aiken Centre on the University of New Brunswick campus. That first year, they were affiliated with the Quebec Nordiques on the NHL and the next year, the Vancouver Canucks joined in a partnership with the Nordiques to run the team. The team finished first in 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons, but never won a championship. They did make it to the Calder Cup finals in 1988, but were beaten by the Hershey Bears. That would be their final game in Fredericton, as the Canucks pulled out of their partnership and the team was moved by the Nordiques to Halifax, becoming the Halifax Citadels.