VANCOUVER CANUCKS ANNOUNCE ECHL AFFILIATEJul 12, 2017
Utica, NY - Vancouver Canucks President Trevor Linden announced today that the Kalamazoo Wings have signed a one-year agreement to be the ECHL affiliate of the Canucks and Utica Comets for the 2017-18 season.
“We are pleased to announce a new partnership with the Kalamazoo Wings,” Canucks president of hockey operations Trevor Linden commented. “Aligned with our AHL affiliation in Utica, this relationship benefits the growth and development of our players. We look forward to renewing our connection with Kalamazoo again.”
With this affiliate agreement, it marks the third time in Kalamazoo’s history that the Canucks and K-Wings have been in partnership (1984-87, 2011-15 and 2017-present) and the 11th NHL team that Kalamazoo has had an affiliation with.
"We're thrilled to be working with the Vancouver Canucks and Utica Comets organization once again,” said Kalamazoo head coach and director of hockey operations Nick Bootland. “There's a solid foundation in place already with the clubs and the future is certainly bright. We're very excited to get to work with some of their talented prospects and help them develop on their way to successful AHL and NHL careers."
“On behalf of the entire Comets staff, I can say we’re very enthusiastic to continue to build our relationship with the Kalamazoo Wings,” said Comets President Robert Esche. “It has been a pleasure to work with head coach Nick Bootland in the past and we will continue to work together to build a cohesive path from the ECHL to the AHL and to the NHL in Vancouver.”
The K-Wings originally played in the International Hockey League (IHL) from 1974 through 1999 before joining the United Hockey League (UHL) from 2000 to 2006. The K-Wings entered the newly re-established IHL from 2007 to 2009 before most recently joining the ECHL to start the 2009-10 season.
The K-Wings previously played in the ECHL’s North Division where they have finished first overall for four seasons. This season, Kalamazoo will compete in the Central Division of the Western Conference, which features Kalamazoo, as well as the Cincinnati Cyclones, Fort Wayne Komets, Indy Fuel, Kansas City Mavericks, Quad City Mallards and Toledo Walleye.
The K-Wings were 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2013-14 champions of the ECHL’s North Division and were Conference Champions in 2010-11.
Since the Wings joined the ECHL in 2009, five players have made their NHL debuts with the Vancouver Canucks after appearing with Kalamazoo. Those players include Darren Archibald, Alex Friesen, Alexandre Grenier, Evan McEneny, and Yann Sauve.