A shift in affiliation has taken place in the ECHL, as the Wichita Thunder is now aligned with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers’ AHL affiliate is the Bakersfield Condors.
“I am excited, on behalf of the Oilers organization, to announce our affiliation with the Wichita Thunder of the ECHL,” said Bill Scott of the Edmonton Oilers. “Wichita will be a tremendous place to develop our prospects while they are in a winning environment under Malcolm Cameron’s guidance. We look forward to getting back on the ice where we had one of our first-ever affiliate teams, dating back to 1980-82. ”
Under the affiliation agreement, the Oilers will be able to designate players within their development system for assignment with the Thunder. The club will also be composed of players who are signed to two-way AHL contracts in addition to those on ECHL contracts (under agreement with the Thunder).
“This is an exciting day for the Wichita Thunder,” commented head coach Malcolm Cameron. “To be working with a storied franchise like the Edmonton Oilers brings a new level of energy to our club. I would like to thank Bill Scott and General Manager Peter Chiarelli for bestowing their confidence in me to develop the young prospects the Oilers will assign to us. I look forward to a great season ahead.”
Edmonton was one of the most exciting teams in the NHL last season. Led by young sensation, Connor McDavid, the Oilers finished with 103 points and made It to the second round of the NHL Playoffs. The Oilers have a rich history of success, winning five Stanley Cups in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990.
Bakersfield also has a rich history of hockey. The Condors are entering their 20th season in 2017-18 and their third in the AHL. Bakersfield was a member of the ECHL for 13 seasons. Last year, eight ex-Condors accounted for 28 points (12g, 16a) including four game-winning tallies for the Oilers during their playoff run.
Entering their 26th season, the Wichita Thunder were an original member of the Central Hockey League when it was founded in 1992. The Thunder captured the Adams Cup as back-to-back regular season title winners and won the William “Bill” Levins Memorial Cup as CHL Champions in 1994 and 1995. Most recently, the Thunder claimed the Governor’s Cup for earning the CHL’s best regular season record in 2011-12 and advanced to back-to-back league finals in 2012 and 2013. Wichita joined the ECHL on Oct. 7, 2014, after spending 22 seasons in the CHL.
This will be the second go-around for Edmonton to affiliate with a team in the Air Capital. The Wichita Wind were the CHL affiliate of the Oilers in 1980-81 and 1981-82.
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