Dallas Stars Renew Deal With ECHL Steelheads


The Dallas Stars are happy with their ECHL affiliate. So happy with it, that they have extended their deal with the Idaho Steelheads for the upcoming 2015-2016 season.

The Double A hockey Steelheads have been with the Stars since 2005, and they have had one of the most productive ECHL-NHL relationships in hockey. The only teams with longer affiliations are the Pittsburgh Penguins and Whjeeling Nailers (1988) and Florida Panthers and Carolina Cyclones (1998).

Idaho are two time Kelly Cup champions since they signed on with the Stars, and they have one other championship appearance. The Steelheads are coming off of a solid season where they had the best record in the ECHL’s Pacific Division, going 48-18-2-4. Those 48 wins tie an ECHL wins record.

“We are extremely pleased to renew our affiliation with the Steelheads,” said Director of Hockey Operations and Texas Stars General Manager Scott White to the Dallas News. “Head Coach Brad Ralph has done a tremendous job in Idaho, as his success in developing young players has led to the winning culture we strive to uphold at all levels of the organization. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Steelheads.”

With the AHL moving to the west, the ECHL has lost a lot of its western presence and the Steelheads will remain one of the furthest west clubs.

Idaho began play in 1997 with the West Coast Hockey League where they stayed until they joined the ECHL in 2003. That year, the ECHL absorbed the WCHL and teams such as Idaho, Alaska, Bakersfield and more joined the league.

The Steelheads affiliated with the Stars for their first season, and after a year hiatus, they reaffiliated in 2005 and have worked together since.

Idaho will open their 2015-2016 season on October 16th when they face the Cedar Rapids Rush. They are once again favorites to win their division, though this season it will be different with the AHL realignment. In their division includes Alaska, Utah, Rapid City, and Colorado. From last season they lose Bakersfield, Ontario, and Stockton while Rapid City moves from the old central division.

There will be three five team divisions per conference this season compared to two ten seven team conferences from last season.

Meanwhile, Dallas retains the Texas Stars as their American Hockey League affiliate.

More from ECHL