The Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League and the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL have reached a one year affiliation agreement for the 2012-13 season, Thunder president Dan Chapman announced today in conjunction with the Oilers.
“Continuing our affiliation with the Edmonton Oilers has been a high priority for our organization this off-season and we’re very much looking forward to working with them during the 2012-13 season,” said Chapman. “This will mark the seventh consecutive year we’ve partnered with the Oilers and our objectives to develop players and provide a winning and competitive team on the ice remain consistent with one another.”
"We are very pleased to continue our partnership with the Stockton Thunder," said Oilers General Manager, Steve Tambellini. "Their commitment to excellence on and off the ice is a key component to developing our young players. We look forward to another year of a successful partnership."
Stockton will serve as the minor league affiliate for Oilers prospects at the premier ‘AA’ hockey league level. Since the two teams began their partnership in 2006-07, the Thunder has advanced to the Kelly Cup Playoffs six consecutive seasons and eight former Thunder players have also advanced to make their debut in the NHL.
"We are really excited to extend our agreement with the Oilers,” said Thunder head coach Matt Thomas. “They are quickly becoming one of the most exciting franchises in the NHL. Their commitment to development is evident through the many Thunder players that have gone on to play with the Oilers and Oklahoma City Barons.”
Thomas continued, "The NHL is so competitive and the need to get maximum playing time and development for their prospects has provided us with the opportunity to create a more visibly aligned path to the NHL from Stockton. We look forward to continued success in the 2012-13 season and beyond."
Milan Kytnar, among several Thunder players who skated under a contract with the Oilers organization or were recalled last season, became the eighth Thunder player to reach the NHL level last season. He was recalled directly by the Oilers on Jan. 11 and made his NHL debut that evening vs. New Jersey at Rexall Place.