ARLINGTON, Va. –The Washington Capitals and the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL) have extended their affiliation agreement through the 2029-30 season, president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.

Hershey has posted a record of 783-428-72-91 (.629 point percentage) since the current affiliation with Washington began in 2005-06. Last season, the Bears won their AHL-record 12th Calder Cup championshipand their fourth during the current partnership (2006, 2009, 2010, 2023). No NHL-AHL pairing has won more Calder Cups in that span.

“The Hershey Bears have played an integral role in the successful development and maturation of players within the Washington Capitals organization for many years, and we are excited to extend our affiliation for the next six seasons and continue our longstanding partnership,” said MacLellan. “Not only have we had players come through Hershey, but several coaches currently on our staff and members of our support staff have plied their trade with the Bears before joining the Capitals.”

Hershey is in its 19th season as Washington’s AHL affiliate under the current agreement. The 2029-30 season will mark the 25th consecutive season that the Capitals and Bears have been affiliated. The Bears, the AHL's oldest and most decorated franchise, currently sit atop the AHL standings with a record of 34-7-0-2.

"The Hershey Bears are thrilled to extend our affiliation agreement with the Washington Capitals,” said Bryan Helmer, Hershey’s vice president of hockey operations. “Our longstanding partnership with the Capitals has established a proven model of success in creating a winning culture and promoting development. Hershey's 2023 Calder Cup title was the organization's fourth championship since partnering with the Capitals in 2005-06, and we take great pride in seeing players who helped us win in Hershey graduate to Washington. We look forward to continuing this strong partnership for the next six seasons."

Hershey has qualified for the playoffs in 14 of the last 16 seasons, excluding the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, in which the Calder Cup Playoffs were not held. The Bears, who defeated the Coachella Valley Firebirds in seven games in the 2023 Calder Cup Finals, also won back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010 as well as the Calder Cup in 2006. Hershey has reached the Calder Cup Finals in six of the 18 completed seasons it has been affiliated with Washington under the current agreement, the most finals appearances in that span.

This season, 16 former or current Bears have played for the Capitals: John Carlson, Tom Wilson, Aliaksei Protas, Connor McMichael, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Beck Malenstyn, Martin Fehervary, Sonny Milano, Hendrix Lapierre, Alex Alexeyev, Hunter Shepard, Hardy Haman Aktell, Lucas Johansen, Ivan Miroshnichenko, Joe Snively and Dylan McIlrath.

Capitals head coach Spencer Carbery served as head coach of the Bears for three seasons from 2018 to 2021. Under Carbery, Hershey posted a combined record of 104-50-9-8 (.658 point percentage), including an AHL-best 24-7-2-0 record (.758 point percentage) in his final season behind the Bears’ bench in 2020-21 and received the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach. Assistant coach Scott Allen was an assistant on Carbery’s Hershey staff for two seasons before being named the Bears’ head coach ahead of the 2021-22 season. Video coach Emily Engel-Natzke worked alongside both Carbery and Allen in Hershey, serving as the Bears’ video coach during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons. In addition, goaltending coach Scott Murray spent four seasons with the Bears from 2013-17. Among Capitals support staff, assistant athletic trainer Murphy Luatua (2016-20) and assistant strength and conditioning coach Mike Wagner (2016-23) worked in Hershey before joining Washington.

The Capitals and Bears were previously affiliated for seven seasons from 1977 to 1984, including the Bears’ 1980 Calder Cup championship.