KALAMAZOO, MI – What do the Vancouver Canucks and the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League have in common?
Both teams will be affiliated with the Kalamazoo Wings for the 2013-14 season.
While the Canucks and K-Wings renewed their agreement, the addition of the Blues marks the fourth time in the past five seasons that the K-Wings have had a dual affiliation.
In addition, the two deals include partnerships with both clubs AHL teams, the Utica Comets (Vancouver) and the Chicago Wolves (St. Louis). Under the agreement, Vancouver, St. Louis, Utica and Chicago will have the ability to assign players to Kalamazoo.
“We are excited to extend our partnership with an elite organization like the Vancouver Canucks,” said K-Wings Head Coach Nick Bootland. “Vancouver does an outstanding job in communicating with our organization which leads to the aid and growth of their prospects.”
The Canucks are excited to remain with the K-Wings for the third straight year.
“We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with the Kalamazoo Wings,” said Canucks President and General Manager Michael D. Gillis. “We’ve been pleased with the support and development of a number of our players with the K-Wings. We look forward to continue working with this great organization as an important juncture in our prospects’ careers.”
For the Blues, keeping close ties on their players is one key factor in joining forces with the K-Wings.
“Wendell Young and the Chicago Wolves introduced us to Kevin McDonald and the St Louis Blues and upon introduction we realized our organizations had similar values,” said Bootland. “By having an affiliation based entirely in the Midwest, the Blues will be able to keep a close eye on their prospects.”
The K-Wings have ties with the Blues as current head coach Ken Hitchcock coached the K-Wings from 1993-96. When Hitchcock was coach of the Dallas Stars and won the Stanley Cup, he brought it to Kalamazoo for the fans to see. Eric Bechtol, the K-Wings Equipment Manager worked for the Blues in the same capacity for nine seasons from 1996-2004.
“The St. Louis Blues are excited to begin a new development agreement with the Kalamazoo Wings,” said St. Louis Blues Assistant General Manager, Kevin McDonald. “Nick Bootland and the Wings have had a great deal of success developing players with our AHL affiliate in Chicago, and we are proud to be joining them as we strive to develop future St. Louis Blues players.”
Young, who has made several visits to Wings Stadium over the past few seasons, is confident that the organizations players are in good hands.
“We are pleased to renew our relationship with the Kalamazoo Wings,” said Chicago Wolves general manager Wendell Young. “We are looking forward to our players continuing to learn and develop under Kalamazoo head coach Nick Bootland”