The Toledo Walleye (ECHL) have announced an extension of its affiliation with the Detroit Red Wings, with the agreement running through the 2020-21 season. The Walleye will also continue its affiliation with the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) as part of this extension.
“The relationship between Detroit, Grand Rapids and Toledo is one of the strongest in professional hockey, and we look forward to its continued growth over the next three years,” said Walleye general manager Neil Neukam. “As we celebrate our 10th season of Walleye hockey, we are honored to have an affiliate who has entrusted us in the development of their future players, but also cares about the growth and winning aspect of our team.”
The franchise’s ties with the Red Wings go back to when the Toledo Storm was formed and entered the ECHL, affiliated with Detroit from 1991-99 and 2000-07. Toledo has been affiliated with Detroit ever since re-entering the ECHL as the Walleye back in 2009.
Since affiliating with the Red Wings and Griffins, Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins, the Walleye have consistently ranked among the ECHL’s most successful franchises. Toledo has captured four-straight division championships and has posted the league’s best record over that span, combining for a regular-season mark of 198-69-12-9. They reached the ECHL’s conference finals in 2015 and 2017, and most recently advanced to the second round of the 2018 ECHL Playoffs.
“The Walleye have proven to be an ideal affiliate for nearly a decade, and their recent record of on-ice and off-ice success speaks for itself,” said Red Wings assistant general manager Ryan Martin. “Toledo plays a critical role in the development of our prospects, and offers top-notch facilities, an excellent staff on the hockey and business side, a fanbase that continually fills the arena and provides an energetic atmosphere, and a commitment to contending for championships that makes it one of the most successful markets in all of minor-league sports. We’re excited to extend this relationship to aid the development of future Red Wings and Griffins and continue the Walleye’s winning culture in an effort to bring an ECHL championship back to the city of Toledo.”
A total of 16 players have gone on to play at least one game in the NHL after playing with the Toledo Walleye, including eight players who have gone on to play with the Detroit Red Wings: Jared Coreau, Martin Frk, Luke Glendening, Nick Jensen, Brian Lashoff, Tom McCollum, Petr Mrazek and Andrej Nestrasil.