The Utah Grizzlies have announced an affiliation with the Colorado Avalanche effective July 1, 2018.
"This affiliation helps take us to the next level as we continue to grow the game of hockey in Utah," said Grizzlies CEO Kevin Bruder. "Colorado's dedication to winning and their acknowledgment of the pride and winning culture that we have in our organization is exciting."
"We are excited for this partnership with the Grizzlies," said Avalanche Assistant General Manager Craig Billington, who also serves as General Manager of the Colorado Eagles. "The Grizzlies are a strong organization with ties to the state of Colorado dating back even before the Avalanche came to Denver. The Grizzlies provide a great environment for our prospects to develop in and now gives us the opportunity to have our NHL, AHL and ECHL club all within the Rocky Mountain region."
"We have a lot to offer and so do they, Colorado takes development very seriously," said Grizzlies Head Coach/General Manager Tim Branham. "The Avalanche are going to be very involved as we put together our roster and we can't wait to get started. When you have the depth that they do, it makes everything easier."
The Avalanche' previous ECHL affiliate, the Colorado Eagles, who are now their AHL affiliate, won the ECHL's Kelly Cup Championship in 2017 and 2018. Colorado's ECHL affiliate has reached at least the second round of the playoffs in five consecutive seasons and at least the Conference Finals in three-straight seasons.
With the youngest team in the NHL, the Avalanche returned to the playoffs in 2017-2018 with a 43-30-9 record, a 47-point increase from 2016-2017 and the fourth largest year-to-year point increase in NHL history.
Fans along the Wasatch Front have been able to watch Avalanche games on television in Utah since day one of the franchise in Denver; with games broadcast live on Altitude Sports (61 Comcast, 681 DirecTV, 413 Dish Network).
"The Avalanche have a strong following in Utah and we've always noted the amount of their jerseys seen at our games," said Bruder. The Grizzlies and Avalanche history goes back to 1995 when the Grizzlies departed for Utah after one season in Denver to make way for the Quebec Nordiques NHL relocation to the Mile High City.
About The Grizzlies
The Grizzlies enter their 24th season in Utah in 2018-2019; having qualified for the playoffs in 17 of their first 23 seasons and in ten of their last eleven.
Utah is led by sixth-year Head Coach and General Manager Tim Branham, the longest tenured Head Coach in team history and the second-longest tenured Head Coach in the ECHL. The 37-year-old's next win will make him the most winning Head Coach in team history as he currently stands at 178-136-45.
The Grizzlies drew a modern day record of 203,990 fans to Maverik Center in 2017-2018 with two sellout crowds of over 10,000 fans and nine crowds of over 7,000 fans as they ranked 5th in the 27-team ECHL in attendance for a second-straight year with an average of nearly 6,000 fans-per-game.
The Grizzlies open the regular season on Friday, October 12 against Rapid City at Maverik Center.