BRAMPTON, Ont. - The Brampton Beast were named the Montreal Canadiens second-tier minor league affiliate on Thursday.
The Beast, who will be entering their third year of operations in the fall, were without a major league affiliate in their inaugural ECHL season, and finding the right partner was a major priority for the team this summer.
"Montreal is the most iconic franchise in the NHL," said Beast president and general manager Cary Kaplan. "They have also shown a virtually unparalleled commitment to development from within. We are confident that partnering with Montreal and St John's will be instrumental to our own on-ice success, and will also add another level of credibility to the Beast brand."
Brampton's addition to the Canadiens' minor-league system is the latest step in the NHL franchise's off-season re-structuring.
Montreal moved its American Hockey League affiliate from Hamilton to St. John's, N.L., on March 12, re-naming the Bulldogs to the IceCaps. The Beast will work with both the IceCaps and Canadiens.
The Habs and Pittsburgh Penguins were both affiliated with the ECHL's Wheeling Nailers last season, although midway through the year the Canadiens also began an agreement with the Beast by sending them 2012 second-round draft pick Dalton Thrower. The Nailers have confirmed the renewal of their longstanding agreement with the Penguins for 2015-2016, while the Beast will be the sole ECHL partner of the Canadiens.