The San Antonio Rampage will have a new parent club next year, as the team has announced an affiliation with the St. Louis Blues that begins in the 2018-19 season. That season will mark the start of a five-year affiliation agreement, according to announcements from both teams.
The Rampage will continue their affiliation with the Colorado Avalanche throughout the 2017-18 season with the added benefit of both Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues prospects on the ice for San Antonio during the upcoming year. The Avalanche, meanwhile, will begin an AHL affiliation with the Colorado Eagles when the Eagles join the circuit for the 2018-19 season.
“Partnering with St. Louis will be a great win for the future of Rampage hockey based on the historical success and terrific reputation of the Blues,” said Rick Pych, president and co-CEO of SS&E. “We want to thank the entire Colorado Avalanche organization for the terrific partnership we continue to share and their commitment to San Antonio Rampage hockey, which allows for this unique opportunity in 2017-18 to provide more top-notch prospects from both NHL teams in San Antonio.”
Beginning with the 2018-19 season, the Blues will take over as San Antonio’s NHL affiliate, providing players, coaches and hockey operations staff to the Rampage. St. Louis will be San Antonio’s fourth NHL affiliate in the club’s 15-year history. San Antonio has been the top affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche since the 2015-16 season and was previously affiliated with the Florida Panthers from 2002-05 and 2011-15, as well as the Arizona Coyotes from 2005-11.
“We are excited to partner with San Antonio for the next five seasons,” said St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong. “With this agreement, the Blues will control all of the hockey operations for the Rampage, enabling us to develop our prospects with the same philosophies we use at the NHL level.”
St. Louis is owned and operated by an all-local group led by Chairman and Governor Tom Stillman. The group purchased the club in May of 2012 and includes several prominent business and civic leaders. The Blues also offer a front office staff that includes Armstrong, the NHL’s 2012 General Manager of the Year.
The Blues offer a longstanding history as one of the six franchises that were selected as a part of the 1967 NHL expansion. Over its 49 seasons in the NHL, St. Louis has qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs 41 times, including a 25-year run from 1980 to 2004 that ranks as the third-longest consecutive postseason streak in NHL history.
St. Louis and its top development affiliate have shown success on each level in recent years. The Blues currently hold the fourth-longest active postseason appearance streak in the NHL after qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2017 for the sixth consecutive season. Over the past four AHL seasons the Chicago Wolves, the Blues’ most recent AHL affiliate, have recorded two divisional championships and three Calder Cup Playoff berths. Since the 2013-14 season, Chicago has averaged 41 wins and 20 NHL recalls per season.