Wichita, Kan. – The Wichita Thunder announced that the team has entered into an affiliation agreement with the National Hockey League’s Ottawa Senators and the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Senators for the 2016-17 season. This will be the first-ever NHL affiliation in Thunder franchise history.
"We’re very excited to be entering into this partnership with the Senators," commented Thunder Head Coach Malcolm Cameron. "Thunder fans will have an opportunity to see potential future Senators wearing Wichita jerseys this season while watching players progress throughout the season. This agreement also provides our own players with an opportunity to be monitored by the Senators organization. Personally, I look forward to helping in the development of NHL-level prospects."
Established in 1992, the Ottawa Senators are a member of the NHL’s Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division. Having qualified for the NHL playoffs in 15 of the past 19 seasons, the Senators have won four division titles, the 2003 Presidents’ Trophy and appeared in the 2007 Stanley Cup Final.
"We’re proud to become the first NHL affiliate of the Wichita Thunder," said Senators assistant general manager Randy Lee. "The development of our prospects continues to be an important priority for our club. As we strive to place players in environments which are conducive to both individual and team success, we feel confident that a number of our young players will be able to progress with the Thunder."
The Binghamton Senators, who became Ottawa’s AHL affiliate in 2002, are a member of the league’s Eastern Conference and North Division. Binghamton won the Calder Cup in 2010-11 after earning a regular season record of 42-20-3-5 en route to the city’s first hockey championship. Former B-Sens who are in the midst of successful careers with Ottawa include Mark Borowiecki, Mike Hoffman, Chris Kelly, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Zack Smith and Mark Stone.
Entering their 25th Anniversary season in 2016-17, the Wichita Thunder were an original member of the Central Hockey League when it was founded in 1992. The Thunder captured the Adams Cup as back-to-back regular season title winners and won the William "Bill" Levins Memorial Cup as CHL Champions in 1994 and 1995. Most recently, the Thunder claimed the Governor’s Cup for earning the CHL’s best regular season record in 2011-12 and advanced to back-to-back league finals in 2012 and 2013. Wichita joined the ECHL on Oct. 7, 2014, after spending 22 seasons in the CHL.