LONG BEACH, Calif. – The Long Beach Ice Dogs announced on Tuesday that the team has reached an affiliation agreement with the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League. The team has also reached an affiliation agreement with Hamilton of the American Hockey League, the AHL affiliate of the Canadiens. The agreement with Hamilton includes Long Beach sending some players to training camp with the Bulldogs.
In 2003-04, the Canadiens provided Long Beach with left wing Jerome Marois, who ranked fourth on the team in scoring with 36 points despite playing only 50 games for the Ice Dogs.
“This is a great day for the Long Beach Ice Dogs organization,” said head coach and director of hockey operations Malcolm Cameron. “We now have an opportunity to develop hockey players for the most winning franchise in NHL history and we are very excited about the relationship.”
“We’re looking forward to having a working relationship with the Long Beach Ice Dogs,” said Andre Savard, assistant general manager for Montreal. “This affiliation will be important for the development of some of our younger players who we hope to have playing with us in the future.”
Montreal’s Michael Ryder, who played in the ECHL with both Mississippi and Tallahassee, finished second to Boston goaltender Andrew Raycroft in voting for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the National Hockey League’s top rookie. Ryder is the first player in ECHL history to be a finalist for the award. Named NHL Rookie of the Year by The Sporting News in May, Ryder led the NHL with 38 assists and 63 points and tied for the lead with 25 goals.
Ryder began his professional career in 2000-01 scoring nine points (4g-5a) in five regular season games with Tallahassee of the ECHL and 15 points (6g-9a) in 61 regular season games with Quebec of the American Hockey League. Ryder returned to the ECHL in 2001-02 and scored 27 points (14g-13a) in 20 games with Mississippi. Selected in the eighth round (216th overall) by Montreal in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Ryder was selected to the 2002 ECHL All-Star Game, but was unable to participate after being called up to Quebec of the AHL where he scored 28 points (11g-17a) in 50 regular season games and one point (0g-1a) in three playoff games.