Johnstown, Pa. – The Johnstown Chiefs announced today that the team will serve as the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche for the 2008-09 season. The agreement continues the relationship that the Chiefs and Avalanche began last year as first-time affiliates. The Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL will once again operate as the Avalanche’s primary minor league affiliate.
Second-year Chiefs head coach Ian Herbers is enthusiastic about working with the Avalanche again, especially after their collaboration last season.
“We are excited to renew our affiliation agreement with the Colorado Avalanche. They are one of the best organizations in the NHL. They have a history of developing players and winning championships.”
“Last season I feel the affiliation was beneficial to both parties. We received quality players and people, who in turn had an opportunity to develop and gain experience to further their hockey careers and help the Avalanche organization. For example, JD Corbin and Rob Drummond spent a significant amount of time in Johnstown last season. They were exciting players for our fans to watch. This year, they will be playing for the Lake Erie Monsters. I am looking forward to another outstanding season working with the Avalanche and Monsters,” said Herbers.
In total, the Avalanche/Monsters provided 11 players to the Chiefs in 2007-08. They included: former second-round draft pick (#59 overall) Codey Burki, Kenny Roche, Brandon Straub, Ray Macias, Wes O’Neill, Vladimir Denisov, Mitch Love, Andrew Penner, former first-round draft pick (#26 overall) Jason Bacashihua, along with Corbin and Drummond.
Like the Chiefs, the Avalanche organization was encouraged by last season’s results.
"We take great pride in developing our young prospects," said Avalanche Vice President of Hockey Operations Craig Billington. "We feel that Johnstown and the ECHL is the right environment for them."
"We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Chiefs," added Avalanche Assistant General Manager Greg Sherman. "It was a positive first season in 2007-08 and we are excited for the upcoming campaign."
With help from the players they received from Colorado and Lake Erie, the Chiefs flourished over the final months of their 20th Anniversary Season in 2007-08. Herbers’ squad posted a scorching 25-12-5 record from January to April, and moved from last to fourth place in the North Division. The momentum of their strong finish propelled the Chiefs to a quarterfinal series sweep of the Dayton Bombers, but they bowed out to the Kelly Cup champion Cincinnati Cyclones in the division semifinals.
The Avalanche is coming off of a strong 2007-08 campaign which saw the team finish second in the Northwest Division and enter the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the sixth seed in the Western Conference. There they upset the third-seed Minnesota Wild in a thrilling six-game series that included three overtime games. The Avalanche was eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings in four games in the second round.
The Lake Erie Monsters brought about a hockey resurgence to the Cleveland area in their inaugural season. Their average attendance of 5,974 was 11th in the AHL, and they had four of the seven highest-attended games last season, including the top two spots - 15,408 on April 12 and 15,132 on October 6. On the ice, the Monsters will look to improve last season’s sixth place finish in the North Division.
Mark your calendars! The Chiefs kick off their 2008-09 home schedule on Saturday, October 18 against their archrivals, the Wheeling Nailers at 7:05 PM. You won’t want to miss a minute of the action! Full Season, Mini, and Total Choice Flex ticket packages are all available now. We have a ticket plan that’s right for everyone so reserve yours today by calling 814-539-1799 or 1-800-SLAPSHOT.