Among offseason additions comes a new ECHL affiliate, the Rapid City Rush, of whom the Coyotes agreed to a new two-year partnership with on Thursday.
Rapid City served as Arizona's affiliate from 2015-17, spanning the final year of the Coyotes' AHL partnership with the Springfield Falcons (2015-16) and the Tucson Roadrunners' inaugural campaign (2016-17). The Rush is entering its sixth season in the ECHL and its 12th overall since being founded in 2008.
Coyotes Assistant General Manager Steve Sullivan, who worked with the Rush to secure the new partnership, is happy with the transition to follow a year in which the organization worked hand-in-hand with the ECHL's Norfolk Admirals.
"We are excited to once again partner with the Rapid City Rush as our ECHL affiliate. The Rush are a first class organization with a passionate fan base. We look forward to working with owners Jeff Dickerson and TJ Puchyr (Spire Sports and Entertainment) as well as owner Scott Mueller and Head Coach Daniel Tetrault."
Three players from the Coyotes and Roadrunners 2018-19 rosters, Adin Hill, Michael Bunting, and Dakota Mermis, spent time with the Rush during its previous term of affiliation.
Along with those three, Marek Langhamer, who played in Europe for the past season and a half after spending parts of three years in the Coyotes organization, became one of just 109 players to appear in at least one ECHL, AHL, and NHL game in a single season in 2016-17 when he appeared in contests with the Rush, Roadrunners, and Coyotes.
Dysin Mayo, whom the Coyotes signed to a one-year, two-way contract on July 15, played in 25 games with the Rush in 2016-17.
Spire Sports and Entertainment Co-Owner Jeff Dickerson said of the rejuvenated relationship:
"We are extremely excited to announce our affiliation with the Arizona Coyotes organization. When we first set out in this process, we weren't just looking for an affiliate for the sake of an affiliation. We wanted to work with an organization that we shared common goals with, could grow with, and that gave opportunities for advancement for our players and staff. From the moment we met with Steve Sullivan, we knew this was the place for us, and we look forward to playing a part in the success of our partners in Tucson and Phoenix."
Spire Sports and Entertainment also represents a number of drivers, sponsors and teams in NASCAR, which will now feature a Coyotes logo in its circuit on the Spire Motorsports Car No. 77 driven by Quin Houff.
The Rush become ECHL pioneers in this aspect of brand activation; they are the first club in the 28-team league to have their logo featured as a primary partner on a NASCAR vehicle, as noted by Rush President Todd Mackin.
"This week has been exhilarating for the Rush organization. Yesterday, we announced our affiliation with the Arizona Coyotes, and today, we become the first ECHL team ever to be featured on a NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Car. We are beyond excited for this opportunity,"
Just three weeks ago, Spire's newly-wrapped Rush race car, which includes Arizona's primary logo underneath the Rush's main emblem on the front hood, won the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway, then driven by Justin Haley.
"Our logo, partnered with the Coyotes logo, will be on display for that same car for everyone to see at Pocono this weekend," Mackin added. "This is an exciting time to be a part of the Rapid City Rush, and we hope our fans feel just as much pride as we do in this team for all that's transpired in the last week."
The Coyotes' logo, complementing the Rush's main branding, will be on display in a live race for the first time when Houff takes to the track in Spire Sports and Entertainment's No. 77 car this weekend at the Gander 400 at Pocono in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.