TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING ENTER INTO AFFILIATION AGREEMENT WITH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE'S NORFOLK ADMIRALS AFFILIATION TO BEGIN WITH 2007-08 SEASON
/ Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning have entered into a multi-year affiliation agreement with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League, it was announced today by Executive Vice President & General Manager Jay Feaster. Norfolk will serve as the Lightning's primary minor league affiliate starting with the 2007-08 season. Feaster, Lightning Assistant General Manager Claude Loiselle, Norfolk President Ken Young and Norfolk Vice President Mark Bernard made the announcement at a 2 p.m. news conference today at the Norfolk Scope Arena.
The Lightning organization will provide the Admirals with the full roster of players, and current Springfield Falcons head coach Steve Stirling and assistant coach Darren Rumble remain under contract to the Lightning organization and will take over the coaching duties in Norfolk.
"We are very excited by the opportunity to partner with such an outstanding organization as Norfolk and such a committed owner in Ken Young," Feaster said. "Throughout our discussions and negotiations Ken's passion for and commitment to his team, the organization and the wonderful fans of the Admirals has been abundantly evident and we look forward to working with him for a very long time.
"While the development of players has always been important to the Lightning organization, the need to develop players is even more critical as a result of the NHL's new collective bargaining agreement. We are committed to the ongoing development of our players and we remain convinced that our players will develop faster and more completely in a winning organization."
"I could not be happier to have the Admirals affiliated with the Tampa Bay Lightning," Young said. "We are thrilled to be able to partner with such a successful and first-class organization for the next several years. Personally, I have watched the Lightning from their inception and through winning the Stanley Cup. I am confident that our fans in Hampton Roads will continue to see winning hockey at the highest level."
The Lightning have been affiliated with several other organizations during the past 15 seasons, including Atlanta of the IHL (1992-96), Adirondack of the AHL (1996-98), Cleveland of the IHL (1998-99), Detroit of the IHL (1999-2001), Springfield of the AHL (2001-03, 2004-07), Hershey of the AHL (2003-04) and Hamilton of the AHL (2003-04). Tampa Bay has also had secondary affiliations with Pensacola, Johnstown, Toledo, Chesapeake, Nashville and Knoxville of the ECHL.
Young, a resident of Tampa and owner of Tampa-based Ovations Food Services, has been the President of the Norfolk Admirals for the past three seasons. Young is the Managing Partner of Tides Baseball, LP, who purchased the Admirals in the summer of 2004. He has been in the recreational food business for more than 30 years since graduating from Penn State University in 1972. Young has been involved in numerous Major League stadiums, arenas, and international events, and has worked in such exciting events as the Super Bowl, The World Series, and the Olympics. Young is also on the Board of Trustees of Minor League Baseball, and heads up the licensing operations for the Outback Bowl.
Hampton Roads has been home to Admirals hockey since 1989. Prior to joining the AHL, the Admirals were the East Coast Hockey League's Hampton Roads Admirals from 1989 to 2000, winning three championships. The team entered the AHL in 2000-01 and has won two division titles. The Admirals are making a run this season at the East Division title and have already clinched a spot in the 2007 Calder Cup Playoffs. This season marks the 18th consecutive campaign that the Admirals have made the playoffs, as they have never missed the post-season.