Another NHL team has a new ECHL affiliate. The Missouri Mavericks announced this week that they have signed a two year agreement to be the ECHL affiliate of the New York Islanders.
The Mavericks are owned by Lamar Hunt Jr and he has been working to bring an NHL affiliate to his team. The Mavericks will also be affiliated now with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League.
“We want to win, and this is going to help us win, so it was really an easy decision from our perspective,” Hunt said on KansasCity.com. “When we met with the Islanders, they satisfied everything we needed, mostly in terms of player development and helping us win hockey games.”
The Islanders will have at least three of their prospects with the Mavericks during the season as a part of the agreement. The Islanders had been affiliated with the Stockton Thunder last season, who are now defunct after the AHL moved to Stockton.
"“We’re already working hand in hand with the hockey operations of the Mavericks to sign players that fit both our needs with the Islanders but also with the Mavericks,” said Kerry Gwydir, an assistant to Islanders general manager Garth Snow. “Trust us, the ball is already rolling. The philosophies are being exchanged.”"
The Mavericks head coach, Richard Matvichuk will be involved with the Islanders mini camps, and will change some of the team’s training techniques to match the Islanders programs, according to general manager Brent Thiessen.
“I knew what (Hunt’s) vision was, what he wanted to do with hockey here — not only professional hockey but youth hockey at the grassroots level — and certainly I shared that vision,” Islanders director of pro scouting Ken Morrow said to KansasCity.com. “It was just a matter of putting the right people together with the Islanders and the Mavericks. It happened fairly quickly.”
The Mavericks have been in the ECHL for six seasons but they are yet to have an NHL affiliation until now. Earlier this off season a few other teams added ECHL affiliations, such as the Montreal Canadiens with the Brampton Beast. Since the AHL movement west, new ECHL affiliations will come into play next season such as the Manchester Monarchs with the Los Angeles Kings and Adirondack Flames with the Calgary Flames.
Three ECHL teams remain unaffiliated; the Rapid City Rush, Tulsa Oilers, and the Wichita Thunder.
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