ESTERO, Fla.— The Florida Everblades announced today that they have entered into a multi-year affiliation agreement with the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues. The Everblades will serve as an affiliate for the Blues and their primary developmental affiliate, the American Hockey League’s Springfield (Mass.) Thunderbirds, starting with the 2024-25 season.

“This affiliation with the St. Louis Blues is incredibly exciting for the Everblades organization and me personally,” said Everblades owner David Hoffmann, a Missouri native. “Having the opportunity to partner with a team from my home state, a team with such a rich history and passionate fanbase, is truly special. 

“Our new affiliation with the Everblades marks a great addition to our organizational system,” said Kevin Maxwell, General Manager of the St. Louis Blues’ AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds. “The franchise has captured three consecutive Kelly Cup Championships and will provide an excellent environment for our prospects to continue in their professional development.”

Founded in 1967 as part of the NHL’s original expansion from six to 21 teams, the Blues won the 2019 Stanley Cup and have the most NHL playoff appearances outside the league’s original six teams. Last season, the Blues posted a 43-33-6 (92 pts) overall record, marking their ninth 90-plus point campaign in the last 11 seasons. Since the 2010-11 season, the Blues have been led by the longest-tenured current general manager in the NHL, Doug Armstrong, who has steered the team to more than 600 regular-season wins, including five of the top six regular-season point totals in franchise history.  In the almost 60-year history of the organization, the Blues have qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs 45 times and made four trips to the Stanley Cup Final. The Everblades and Blues will be affiliated for the first time in the upcoming 2024-25 campaign.  

“We are excited to have the St. Louis Blues as our new NHL affiliate,” said Everblades President Craig Brush. “The strong ownership group led by Chairman and Governor Tom Stillman, along with President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong have built a tremendous organization in St. Louis. We look forward to becoming an integral part of the development of players for the Blues and Springfield Thunderbirds. I want to thank my long-time friend Steve Chapman, Executive Vice President, Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer for the Blues for his hard work to make this happen.”

Originally founded in 1998, Everblades will be celebrating the organization’s 27th season in 2024-25. The Everblades are coming off their fourth Kelly Cup Championship in 2023-24, a season in which the team played in front of sellout crowds on 18 separate occasions. During a stellar playoff run last season, the Everblades went 16-7 in the postseason and became the ECHL’s first team to hoist the Kelly Cup for three straight seasons. Florida captured the Kelly Cup in 2012, 2022, 2023 and 2024.

Additionally, the Everblades have won six conference championships, eight division championships, and four Brabham Cups, awarded to the ECHL’s team with the top regular-season record. In 26 seasons, the Everblades have qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs every year but one, and 40 Everblades players have gone on to play in the NHL.

About Florida Everblades

Since their inception in 1998, the Florida Everblades have established a reputation as one of the premier organizations in the ECHL. The ‘Blades have been a consistent force on the ice, advancing to the playoffs in every season but one. Florida also has quite an impressive trophy case, capturing four Kelly Cups, becoming the first team to win three straight Kelly Cups, claiming the Brabham Cup four times for the best regular season record in the ECHL, and winning six conference titles and eight division titles. Through 26 seasons, 40 Blades players have advanced to the NHL. In addition to building a winning tradition, the Everblades have also built a big following throughout Southwest Florida and have finished in the top five in the ECHL in attendance in 17 of their 26 seasons, including six seasons of leading the league in attendance. 

About St. Louis Blues 

The St. Louis Blues entered the NHL as an expansion team in 1967.  Since then, the organization has established itself as one of the most successful in league history, boasting four trips to the Stanley Cup Final, 10 division championships, and more than 30 Hockey Hall of Fame alumni.  In 2019, the Blues crafted one of the most improbable comeback stories in sports history, climbing from last place in the NHL standings on January 1 to capture their first Stanley Cup Championship.  Under the leadership of current and longest-tenured NHL General Manager Doug Armstrong, the Blues have been one of the most successful teams of the past decade-plus, ranking fifth in regular-season wins (601), 11th in playoff wins (50) and qualifying for the postseason 10 times.

About Springfield Thunderbirds

Established in 2016, the Springfield Thunderbirds currently serve as the AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues. The Thunderbirds captured the Richard F. Canning Trophy as Eastern Conference Champions in 2022, the first such conference championship for a Springfield hockey team since 1991. The franchise also received the AHL President’s Award as Team of the Year that same season. During their history, the Thunderbirds have developed future NHL stars such as MacKenzie Weegar, Owen Tippett, Jake Neighbours, and more. The City of Springfield has hoisted seven Calder Cups over its nearly 90-year history in the American Hockey League. On the business side, the Thunderbirds have increased their average attendance every season, setting a Springfield AHL record with an average attendance of 6,321 to go along with 20 sellouts during the 2023-24 season.