Nashville, Tenn. (May 4, 2017) - Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Thursday that the club has signed an affiliation agreement with the ECHL's Norfolk Admirals beginning with the 2017-18 season. The Admirals are led by President Mike Santos, who served as the Predators Director of Hockey Operations from 2006-10.
"The Nashville Predators are proud to partner with the Norfolk organization, who are guided by two great leaders in Mike Santos and Head Coach Robby Ftorek," current Nashville Director of Hockey Operations Brian Poile said. "We look forward to Norfolk being critical to the success of both the Predators and our American Hockey League affiliate Milwaukee Admirals"
"After a thorough process, the Nashville Predators are the perfect fit for the city of Norfolk and the Admirals," Santos said. "Their proven history of community outreach, innovative marketing, player development and winning is everything Admirals fans demand of us."
The Norfolk Admirals will function as a developmental affiliate for both Nashville, and its primary developmental affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. Norfolk plays its home games at Scope Arena, an 11,000-seat venue that has housed hockey at the AHL and ECHL levels since 1989.
Since the franchise's inaugural season in 1998-99, 35 Predators have played in the ECHL, including Tomas Vokoun, Vern Fiddler and Anthony Bitetto.
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 27 teams play in 2016-17, its 30th season. There have been 623 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL.