By Brian Compton
NHL.com Staff Writer
After a phenomenal return to the ECHL in 2006-07, the Cincinnati Cyclones have picked up where they left off.
Cyclones coach Chuck Weber, who guided Cincinnati to a record of 37-29-6 and a third-place finish in the North Division last season, has his team flying out of the gate. The Cyclones, who have won six of their last eight and seven of 10, currently sit atop the division at 10-4-1. Thus far, they’ve outscored their opponents by a margin of 61-37.
Weber attributed much of this season’s success to his affiliations. The Cyclones, who were already partnered with the Montreal Canadiens, added a second agreement prior to the start of the season with the Nashville Predators. Cincinnati has since received six prospects from each organization.
“We knew that we had some talent coming in with the two affiliations,” Weber said. “The big unknown was how the kids from the two organizations would blend and accept roles. We have a fantastic group of kids.”
Weber helped land the affiliation with the Predators mainly because of his relationship with Nashville assistant coach Peter Horachek. Weber was Horachek’s assistant coach in Trenton in 2001-02 and again with AHL Milwaukee the following season.
Given Nashville’s desire to land an ECHL affiliate, combined with the relationship Weber shares with several members of the Predators’ organization, it was a perfect fit. Weber also had the opportunity to work at both Montreal’s and Nashville’s rookie camps over the summer.
“They wanted to have a feeder system in the ECHL,” Weber said of the Predators. “They knew the best feeder from a Double-A standpoint is the (ECHL). They knew me, so they were comfortable, especially with the results that we had last year when no one expected too much from us.”