Today the Vegas Golden Knights organization along with General Manager George McPhee and the Chicago Wolves franchise made it official as they have signed a multi-year affiliation deal that starts for the 2017-2018 hockey season.
Several weeks ago I did article pointing to possible affiliation with the Chicago Wolves organization. Now we know today in a formal announcement.
McPhee had this say in regards to going into the new partnership with the Chicago Wolves hockey club.
“American Hockey League affiliates play a significant role in the success of all NHL clubs and are we are proud to have the Chicago Wolves as our first in team history,” said Vegas Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee. “I would like to thank Don Levin, Wendell Young and the rest of the Wolves organization for their commitment to the game and helping young hockey players grow to reach their full potential as professionals. Chicago is without question one of the strongest, most passionate hockey communities in North America. This is a relationship that we truly believe will be mutually beneficial.” McPhee said.
For George, he echoed even further of the importance to developing talent down at the minor league level that enables players to prepare themselves for the NHL.
“If you look at George McPhee’s history, he has always been a general manager who believes that winning is an important part of developing players,” said Wolves owner Don Levin. “Professional playoffs are different than the regular season and he understands that and he wants his players to be ready to win.” Says McPhee
Recently it was Reid Duke who was sent to Chicago on a PTO contract assignment back on April 7 to get himself familiar with life in the AHL.
The Chicago Wolves AHL hockey club will serve as the primary affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights organization.
This past season the Wolves finished at the top spot in the AHL’s Central Divison with a 44-19-8-5 record at 101 points with .664 winning percentage. They advanced the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs where they were outlasted by their rivals the Grand Rapid Griffins.
It was the second time in their club history where finished the regular season with .664 winning percentage (last time was in the 2007-08 season).
“We’re starting from the ground up with a new franchise,” said Wolves general manager Wendell Young. “It will be exciting to build both franchises together with the same philosophy.” Added Young
According to McPhee, he anticipates that there will be between 6 to 8 players that are the property of the Vegas Golden Knights playing in Chicago at any given time.
Top 10 Chicago Wolves Players: click here
In terms of a potential primary ECHL affiliation, that will be differed out for the 2018-2019 season as Per Steve Carp of Las Vegas Review-Journal, he reports that Reno is the likely city to host their Double-A hockey team in the future.
To note, the Chicago Wolves had a working affiliation with the ECHL’s Missouri Mavericks that could be a temporary partner at that tier level until Vegas gets their official Double-A hockey club in place.
For the St. Louis Blues franchise they made it official that going forward that they will be ending their affiliation with the Chicago Wolves after the completion of the 2016-2017 AHL season.
Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong confirmed this after Vegas made the official announcement.
“The St. Louis Blues will not renew our primary affiliation with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves past the 2016-17 season,” confirmed Armstrong. “We will associate with the Vegas Golden Knights and supply players to the Golden Knights’ AHL affiliate for next season.” Armstrong continued.
The term of the affiliation agreement between Vegas and Chicago is a 5-year deal.