The Philadelphia Flyers have reached a minor league affiliation agreement with the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL for the 2009-10 season, according to club General Manager Paul Holmgren.
“We are pleased to have the Kalamazoo Wings as our ECHL affiliate and look forward to a strong working relationship with them,” said Holmgren.
"I am excited and looking forward to enhancing the development of the Flyers' prospects and working with such a successful organization," said Paul L. Pickard, Wings Stadium and Kalamazoo Wings President.
The Wings replace the Mississippi Sea Wolves, who served as the Flyers’ ECHL affiliate for the 2008-09 season. Philadelphia will have the opportunity to send players under contract to either the Flyers or their American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, to Kalamazoo to play for the Wings in the 2009-10 season.
This will be the second stint for the Philadelphia Flyers and Kalamazoo Wings into an affiliation agreement. The Wings were a minor league affiliate of the Flyers for three seasons (1984-85 to 1986-87) when they were a member of the International Hockey League. Philadelphia Flyers Hall of Fame goaltender Ron Hextall appeared in 19 games with the Wings in the 1984-85 season.
The ECHL is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League. The ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league with 20 teams in 15 states and British Columbia in 2009-10. The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.