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Islanders announce affiliation with ECHL's Thunder

Wednesday, 07.31.2013 / 1:21 PM / News

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Islanders announce affiliation with ECHL's Thunder
The New York Islanders on Wednesday announced an affiliation agreement with the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL, beginning in the 2013-14 season.
The New York Islanders on Wednesday announced an affiliation agreement with the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL, beginning in the 2013-14 season. Stockton will join the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League as the Islanders' primary minor-league affiliates.

"We are thrilled to have the Stockton Thunder join the Islanders as the organization's ECHL affiliate,” general manager Garth Snow said. "The culture of success in Stockton will benefit our prospects and develop them into better hockey players as they work their way from the ECHL, to the AHL and eventually playing for the New York Islanders.”

The Thunder, who play at Stockton Arena in Stockton, Calif., entered the ECHL in 2005-06 and have qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs seven consecutive times, from 2007-13. In 2012-13, the Thunder finished second in the Western Conference Pacific Division and made it to the Kelly Cup Finals before losing in five games to the Reading Royals.

"Having an NHL affiliate is an important piece of our success, and a dedicated organization like the New York Islanders brings a lot to the table,” Thunder president Brian Sandy said. "The Thunder is committed to helping our players reach their goals through NHL development, and our new affiliation with the Islanders will help us achieve this objective for them in a much bigger way. And our fans can look forward to watching talented Islanders prospects who will play important roles in our commitment to excellence, both on the ice and in our community.”

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We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.

— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp