Leading up to their 2018-19 seasons, the AHL and ECHL have seen numerous affiliation changes among their teams. Our NHL Affiliations: AHL and ECHL page keeps track of the latest developments, including renewals and changes. Within this story, we will highlight some of the AHL and ECHL affiliation changes that have taken place in recent months.
The AHL affiliation shuffle has been relatively quiet. The Colorado Eagles are making the move up from the ECHL and will become the new AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche. Meanwhile, the San Antonio Rampage—the former AHL affiliate of the Avalanche—will now be a farm club of the St. Louis Blues. Both changes were announced last year and have resulted in long-term agreements. The pact between the Avalanche and the Eagles runs through the 2027-28 season, while the Rampage will be an affiliate of the Blues through at least the 2022-23 campaign.
There has been far more activity in the ECHL, with seven clubs announcing new NHL affiliations. The Maine Mariners and Newfoundland Growlers are beginning ECHL play this season and have announced affiliations with the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs, respectively. To align with Newfoundland, Toronto ended its affiliation with the Orlando Solar Bears. This allowed the Solar Bears to get a new NHL parent close to home, as the team recently announced an affiliation with the Tampa Bay Lightning that runs through the 2020-21 season.
For the Rangers, the agreement with the Mariners effectively ends the Greenville Swamp Rabbits’ run as the organization’s ECHL affiliate. The Swamp Rabbits announced in April that they would pursue a new NHL affiliate, but have not revealed one to date.
Elsewhere, the Rapid City Rush and Minnesota Wild parted ways, allowing the Allen Americans to begin an agreement with Minnesota that runs through the upcoming season. That means that the Wild will replace the San Jose Sharks as the Americans’ NHL parent club. The Rush have not announced a new NHL parent club.
Along with a new AHL farm club in the Eagles, the Avalanche have picked up a new ECHL affiliate in the Utah Grizzlies. The Grizzlies were previously affiliated with the Anaheim Ducks (NHL) and San Diego Gulls (AHL).
The Vegas Golden Knights are maintaining a Midwest contingent of farm clubs, as the Fort Wayne Komets are their new ECHL affiliate. The Chicago Wolves will return as the team’s AHL affiliate, with the Komets stepping into a role previously served by the now defunct Quad City Mallards.
In Norfolk, the Admirals obtained a new NHL parent in the Arizona Coyotes. That came after the Komets and Coyotes announced that they would not renew their affiliation for the upcoming season.
It is possible that more changes are announced between now and the beginning of this season, but regardless this offseason has resulted in some interesting shifts in the professional hockey affiliation landscape.
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