TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have entered into a one-year affiliation agreement with the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL today, the team announced. Kalamazoo will serve as the Lightning’s primary ECHL affiliate starting with the 2016-17 season.
"We are very happy to welcome the Kalamazoo Wings to the Lightning organization today,” Lightning assistant general manager Julien BriseBois said. “The Wings have maintained a strong commitment to success and we are proud to partner with them. We look forward to furthering the development of our prospects in the ECHL while helping the K-Wings win the Kelly Cup next season.”
Established in 1974, the Kalamazoo Wings hockey club, also known as the "K-Wings", have established a strong winning culture at the 5,113-seat Wings Event Center while playing in the IHL, UHL and ECHL. Two-time winners of the Turner Cup (IHL) and the 2006 Champions of the Colonial Cup (UHL), the K-Wings are currently members of the ECHL's North Division and have won four divisional titles since 2010. Since joining the ECHL in 2009, Kalamazoo has produced 11 players who have appeared in the NHL, including four who made their debuts during the 2015-16 season.
Tampa Bay previously had secondary affiliations with Florida (Estero), Augusta (Georgia), Mississippi (Biloxi), Pensacola (Florida), Johnstown (Pennsylvania), Toledo (Ohio), Chesapeake (Virginia), Nashville (Tennessee) and Knoxville (Tennessee) of the ECHL. The Lightning’s top minor league affiliate remains the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League.