INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – The Missouri Mavericks announced that they have reached an affiliation agreement with the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. Missouri joins the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League as the Islanders primary minor league affiliates.
“One of the major priorities that we identified while going through the due diligence process on the purchase of the Mavs was to strengthen our affiliation in the world of professional hockey,” said Lamar Hunt Jr, President & Owner of the Missouri Mavericks. “We are excited for the players and the fans as we bring a whole new level of professional hockey to Independence Events Center, paired up with an organization that has been built through its development to become a perennial playoff contender.”
This agreement marks the first time in club history that the Mavericks will be a part of a formal affiliation with an NHL team. The Mavs held previous one-year agreements with the AHL Chicago Wolves during the 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
“We are excited to partner with the Missouri Mavericks as our new ECHL affiliate,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said. “The Mavericks are a highly-regarded organization with a high-end coaching staff that’s capable of developing players from the ECHL, to the AHL, and eventually to the New York Islanders.”
Missouri’s new affiliation agreement includes integration into the Islanders scouting system, strength and conditioning programs, and training camps.
“The Mavericks are thrilled to be affiliating with a first-class organization in the New York Islanders,” said Brent Thiessen, General Manager of the Missouri Mavericks. “We are excited to develop their prospects and work closely with the team moving forward.”
“Today is an important day for the Mavericks, solidifying a strong NHL affiliation with a storied and proven franchise ensures we will have some of the best hockey talent available showcased at the IEC on a nightly basis,” said Thiessen. “Our fans will see NHL prospects that graduate to Bridgeport of the American Hockey League and hopefully to the New York Islanders at the NHL level.”
Several Islanders prospects saw time in the ECHL last season, including former second-round pick Sebastien Collberg, third-rounder Loic Leduc and seventh-rounder Lukas Sutter. Four Islanders players that finished the 2014-15 season with the team who spent a portion of their careers in the ECHL – Eric Boulton, Jaroslav Halak, Colin McDonald and Kael Mouillierat.
Islanders’ head coach Jack Capuano was a coach and executive in the ECHL with Knoxville and Pee Dee from 1997-2005 while Sound Tigers’ head coach Brent Thompson was head coach of Alaska from 2009-11, leading the Aces to the 2011 Kelly Cup title.