Nashville Predators Executive Vice President/General Manager David
|Chuck Weber |
Poile announced today that the club has signed a one-year affiliation agreement with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL.
The Cyclones will function as a developmental affiliate for Nashville and its primary developmental affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League. Cincinnati also maintains an affiliation agreement with Montreal and the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs. Cincinnati has played at the downtown U.S. Bank Arena (formerly Riverfront Coliseum) since 1997.
“Playing in a city with a strong hockey history, we think our players will be able to develop as professionals and experience a winning environment under Chuck Weber,” said Mike Santos, director of hockey operations for the Predators. “We are confident that those Cyclones who are called upon will contribute consistently to the success of the Milwaukee Admirals. The Predators are excited to add Cincinnati to our developmental system.”
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. Head Coach Chuck Weber directed the Cyclones to a 37-29-6 record during the campaign. Cincinnati upset Toledo in the opening round of the Kelly Cup playoffs and advanced to a seventh game in the North Division Finals against Dayton—before being eliminated by the eventual Eastern Conference champions. Prospect goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris, signed by Nashville on July 2, 2007, appeared in 22 games with the Cyclones last season.
Weber, 33, was an assistant coach at the professional level for seven seasons prior to joining the Cyclones in May, 2006. He worked the bench with Nashville Assistant Coach Peter Horachek for four seasons, including two with the IHL’s Orlando Solar Bears (1999-2001) where he captured the IHL’s Turner Cup in 2001. He also worked with Horachek with the Admirals in 2002-03 and with the ECHL’s Trenton Titans (2001-02).
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 will have 25 teams playing in 17 states and British Columbia in 2007-08. There have been 329 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including Nashville Predators Vernon Fiddler and Jerred Smithson.