Nashville, Tenn. (July 16, 2015) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Thursday that the club has renewed its affiliation with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones. A perennial contender, the Cyclones have served as Nashville’s secondary developmental affiliate since the 2007-08 season, winning a pair of Kelly Cup titles (2008 and 2010), making another Kelly Cup Final appearance (2014), claiming three North Division titles (2008, 2009, 2013) and making the ECHL postseason seven of eight seasons they’ve been affiliated with the Predators.
The Cyclones will function as a developmental affiliate for both Nashville, and its primary developmental affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League. Cincinnati plays its home games at the 14,453-seat U.S. Bank Arena, located downtown next to the Cincinnati Reds’ Great American Ballpark.
“We look forward to continuing to work with such a class organization that creates a winning environment for our players to develop,” Predators Assistant General Manager Paul Fenton said. “Led by President Ray Harris, the Cyclones have been a model of consistency the past eight seasons and have been critical to the success of the Milwaukee Admirals and the Nashville Predators.”
Seven Predators prospects suited up for the Cyclones during the 2014-15 season, and five more ECHL graduates played for Nashville at the NHL level, including Cyclones Alumnus Anthony Bitetto.
Founded in 1990 as an ECHL franchise, the Cyclones competed in the International Hockey League (IHL) from 1992-2001. The Cyclones went 23-17-4 (.568 winning percentage) in games versus Milwaukee during that nine-year stretch. After the IHL ceased operations in 2001, the Cyclones returned to the ECHL for three more seasons.
After two seasons of inactivity – including one without professional hockey in Cincinnati – the Cyclones rejoined the ECHL in time for 2006-07, and quickly captured two Kelly Cup championships (2008 and 2010), two North Division titles (2008 and 2009), a Brabham Cup (league’s best record) and made three consecutive trips to the American Conference Finals (2008, 2009 and 2010).
The ECHL is the leading professional developmental league for the American Hockey League and the National Hockey League. The league began in 1988-89 with five teams in three states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast circuit that saw 28 teams playing in 20 states and one Canadian province in 2014-15, its 28th season. There have been more than 560 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL.