There is some affiliation news to report out of the ECHL, as the Rapid City Rush have extended their agreement with the Phoenix Coyotes. The Rush are also now affiliated with the Tucson Roadrunners, the Coyotes’ new franchise in the AHL.
“We’re very excited to renew our affiliation agreement with such a first class organization as the Arizona Coyotes led by General Manager John Chayka and Head Coach Dave Tippett,” said Rush General Manager Joe Ferras. “With the recent move of the Coyotes’ American Hockey League team to Tucson, this will only enhance the transition with players being sent down and or recalled throughout the organization. The main goal in our relationship with the Coyotes is to help develop their talented young prospects in a tremendous environment that Rapid City has to help them one day reach their goals of playing in the NHL.”
“We are pleased to renew our affiliation agreement with Rapid City,” said Coyotes General Manager John Chayka. “Rapid City is a first-class organization and we are we are looking forward to another great season.”
In the first season of the affiliation agreement last year, the Rush received five prospects in the Arizona pipeline: Dan O’Donoghue, James Melindy, Michael Bunting, Dakota Mermis and Marek Langhamer.
“We’re thrilled to once again be affiliated with Arizona, and now also with Tucson,” said Rush Head Coach Mark DeSantis. “It is exciting to help in the development of the Coyotes prospects that we receive knowing that these players, once they make it to the NHL, once played for the Rapid City Rush.”
Beginning operation in 1972 in the WHA, the Coyotes were the original incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets. The then-Jets joined the NHL just 7 years later as part of the NHL/WHA merger, and remained a part of the league in Manitoba until 1996, when the team moved to Phoenix, AZ to become the Phoenix Coyotes. Since moving to Arizona 20 years ago, the Coyotes have enjoyed 8 playoff appearances as a franchise, including their first ever Pacific Division championship in the 2011-12 season, advancing as far as the Western Conference Finals in that playoff run, only to fall short to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. After 17 seasons of being referred to as the Phoenix Coyotes, the franchise rebranded to their most recent name, the Arizona Coyotes, to reflect their mission to represent and commit to all loyal hockey fans in the state of Arizona.
The Coyotes are led by Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations and Head Coach Dave Tippett on the bench, now entering his eighth season with the team, and Captain Shane Doan on the on the ice, wearing the “C” on his chest for a 13th consecutive season. Off the ice, the franchise is operated by General Manager John Chayka, who was introduced in the role on May 5, 2016. Chayka is the youngest GM in the history of the National Hockey League at just 26 years old.