KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Kalamazoo Wings will have a duel National Hockey League affiliation for the 2014-15 season as the club has renewed their affiliation agreement with the Vancouver Canucks and have entered a new two-year agreement with the Columbus Blue Jackets. These agreements mark the fifth time in the past six seasons the K-Wings will have a dual affiliation.
Both agreements include partnerships with each club’s AHL affiliations, the Utica Comets (Vancouver) and the Springfield Falcons (Columbus). While the K-Wings will no longer be affiliated with the St. Louis Blues, their long-standing relationship with the Chicago Wolves will continue.
Under the affiliation arrangements during the 2014-15 season, Vancouver, Columbus, Utica, Springfield and Chicago will have the ability to assign players to Kalamazoo.
"The entire Vancouver Canucks organization has been amazing to work with and we are elated to continue our relationship," said K-Wings Director of Hockey Operations/Head Coach Nick Bootland. “With being in constant communication with Loren Henning and Pat Conacher, our ability to develop their prospects and bolster our lineup makes this a great fit for our organization.”
This season marks the fourth straight season the K-Wings have had a relationship with the Canucks. Last season Vancouver finished the regular season with a record of 36-35-11.
“We are pleased to continue our partnership with the Kalamazoo Wings,” said Canucks President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden. “Kalamazoo is an organization that shares our level of commitment for success and we will continue to work together to provide our prospects with opportunities to further develop on and off the ice.”
“Chris MacFarland and the Columbus Blue Jackets have a great reputation of communicating well with their affiliates,” said Bootland. “We are excited to begin a two-year agreement with an organization that has so many young and talented prospects.”
“We are excited to have the Kalamazoo Wings as our new ECHL affiliate,” said Columbus Blue Jackets Assistant General Manager Chris MacFarland, who oversees hockey operations for the club’s professional affiliates. “We look forward to working with Head Coach Nick Bootland and the entire K-Wings organization to help us develop some of the young players in our system.”
The Springfield Falcons have been the primary affiliate of the Blue Jackets since 2010. Capturing their second straight Northeast Division title a season ago, the Falcons finished the season with a record of 47-23-1-5. Entering their 21st season, the Chicago Wolves have captured four league titles: the International Hockey League’s Turner Cup in 1998 and 2000, and the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup in 2002 and 2008. Even more incredible, since their inception in 1994, Chicago hasn’t experienced any losing seasons. “It is outstanding to have a partnership with Wendell Young and the Chicago Wolves, who clearly understand and respect the day-to-day roster challenges of an ECHL team, said Bootland. “Our proximity to Chicago also makes this affiliation beneficial for both teams.”
“We look forward to continuing our relationship with a first-class organization like Kalamazoo,” said Wolves general manager Wendell Young. “We have full confidence in Head Coach Nick Bootland and the Wings’ ability to make our players better and allow them to smoothly transition to the American Hockey League.”