ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Alaska Aces have agreed to terms on an affiliation agreement with the NHL’s Calgary Flames and the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat to begin in the 2013-14 season, Aces Managing Member, Terry Parks announced on Wednesday afternoon.
Effective immediately, the Aces will serve as the exclusive ECHL affiliate for Calgary and Abbotsford. The reciprocal agreement will feature select Aces players attending training camps in Abbotsford, and NHL and AHL contracted players in the Flames organization being assigned to Alaska for development. The Aces have operated as an independent team for the last two seasons, but Parks said this affiliation is a huge day in the franchise’s history.
"We always said we didn’t just want an affiliation. We wanted the right affiliation," said Parks. "The Flames are an organization on the rise. They have a great group of talented, young players, and we are certain that this relationship will pay dividends for both sides."
Flames General Manager, Jay Feaster echoed the sentiments, and said the Flames were excited to use Alaska as a launching pad for young players on their roster.
"We have a serious commitment to rebuilding and getting our prospects ready to contribute as quickly as possible in Calgary," said Feaster. "We continue to demonstrate the importance we have placed on development. In support of these objectives, we are excited to be able to add such a quality organization as the Alaska Aces to our development process."
Murray, who played in the AHL for the St. John Flames in 2001-2002 while under contract with the Calgary Flames, had a big role in securing the affiliation between the two organizations. He said that from a coaching standpoint the affiliation will go a long way for the Aces.
"There are so many things to be excited about by partnering with Calgary and Abbotsford," Murray said. "We’re going to be able to give our guys a first-hand look at AHL training camps with a top-notch organization like the Heat. They’re going to be able to take that experience and grow from it all year long. Additionally, we know that we’re going to get some of the best young talent around to develop throughout the season."