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Wild Ink Deal with ECHL Team

The Wild have formalized a deal with the Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL to serve as the secondary minor league affiliate. Head over to The Third Intermission for more details, but this seems to be a good thing for the development process. Another long term planning improvement over the Risebrough era.

The Press Release:

October 29, 2009

The Johnstown Chiefs, proud member of the ECHL since 1988, announced today that they have entered into a working agreement with the National Hockey League’s Minnesota Wild. During the 2009-10 season the Chiefs will serve as the Wild’s secondary minor league partner. The American Hockey League’s Houston Aeros are Minnesota’s primary affiliate.

"This is a great opportunity for the Johnstown Chiefs to work with the Minnesota Wild and the Houston Aeros. The Minnesota organization is led by outstanding hockey men in owner Craig Leipold and General Manager Chuck Fletcher. They are a player development-minded club and the agreement will benefit all three teams including the Wild, the Aeros, and our Johnstown Chiefs," said Chiefs owner and governor Neil Smith.

The Chiefs have had three different NHL partners over the last two seasons. In 2007-08 they worked with the Colorado Avalanche and Boston Bruins and their AHL affiliates. Colorado remained for 2008-09 while the Columbus Blue Jackets replaced Boston. In the Chiefs’ 22-year history they have also been affiliated with the Tampa Bay Lightning, New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Calgary Flames, and San Jose Sharks.

"We are excited to be working with the Wild organization. It will definitely benefit both sides as the Chiefs will help develop players to move up the ladder. The Minnesota organization has a solid foundation and we look forward to being a part of that. This partnership could also provide opportunities for our players in the future," said Chiefs head coach and director of hockey operations Jeff Flanagan.

The Wild, which began play in the NHL in 2000-01, compete in the Western Conference’s Northwest Division. The team that brought the NHL back to Minnesota after the North Stars left for Dallas has enjoyed a quick rise to prominence in its first decade. In just its third season, the Wild made it to the Western Conference Finals in historic fashion. By eliminating Colorado and Vancouver in the first and second round, respectively, Minnesota became the first team in NHL history to win two playoff series in the same year when trailing three games to one. In 2007-08 the Wild won 44 games and made history with their first division championship. Minnesota has previously been affiliated with the ECHL’s Texas Wildcatters, Louisiana Ice Gators, and Jackson (Mississippi) Bandits.

"The Johnstown Chiefs have a long and storied history in hockey, and the Wild and Aeros are pleased to partner with them for the 2009-2010 season. Fans need to look no further than Derek Boogaard, who began his career in the ECHL, to see how vital a secondary minor league partner can be," said Wild assistant to the general manager/Houston general manager Jim Mill.

The Aeros came into existence in 1994 as an expansion team as a member of the International Hockey League. When the IHL folded in 2001, the Aeros were one of six teams from that league to enter the AHL. The Aeros have won two championships in their existence; the 1999 Turner Cup in the IHL and the 2003 Calder Cup in the AHL. The Aeros have been affiliated with the Wild since 2001.

Mark your calendars! The Chiefs are back on home ice on Saturday, October 24 against the Elmira Jackals at 7:05 p.m. Bic Corporation is sponsoring a "Welcome Back Bonanza" giveaway with tons of great Bic products being given to the fans. It’s also the first UPJ doubleheader of the season where Chiefs season ticket holders can get into the Icecats’ 2:30 game against Gannon for just $3 for adults and $1 for students. Great seats are still available and you can get yours by going to or by calling 1-800-TICKETMASTER.