The Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL announced recently that the team has agreed to an affiliation with the Colorado Avalanche and the Lake Erie Monsters.
The Komets – who play who in Fort Wayne, Indiana – have been in the ECHL since 2012.
Prior to that, the team played in the Central Hockey League from 2010 – 2012 and previous was a member of the UHL and IHL. Since their founding in 1952, the franchise has won 12 regular season titles, one conference championship and seven Turner Cups.
This past season, they went 36-24-7-5 and had 84 points on the season. They were eliminated in the semifinals of the 2014 ECHL playoffs by the Cincinnati Cyclones.
The Komets just recently announced the signings of four players to their roster for next season, adding goaltender Pat Nagle, center Angelo Esposito and forwards Christian Ouellet and Alex Hudson.
As it stands right now, the Komets have nine players signed on for the 2014-2015 season, but the affiliation with the Avalanche and their AHL club will help to fill the gaps on the roster.
The Fort Wayne Komets affiliation with the Colorado Avalanche and Lake Erie Monsters marks just the latest of the ECHL-NHL-AHL affiliations.
There are 22 teams in the ECHL, and all but two have affiliations. The Colorado Eagles and Las Vegas Wranglers remain independent. The Komets had a prior affiliation with Anaheim and Norfolk a few years ago before that fizzled out, and those teams are now affiliated with the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies.
Some NHL clubs share ECHL teams, such as Minnesota and Toronto, who are both affiliated with the Orlando Solar Bears; 25 of the 30 NHL teams now have an affiliation with an ECHL club.
For now, the affiliation deal between Fort Wayne, Colorado and Lake Erie is a one-year contract with options to extend.
The affiliation is great for all sides; it allows the Komets to pick up some players from the Colorado organization as the third “level” of the organization; it also allows players who don’t make the Colorado or Lake Erie rosters to have a designated resting spot in the ECHL, rather than potentially being thrown to different teams across the country.