Nashville, Tenn. (December 13, 2005) - Nashville Predators Executive Vice President/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed an affiliation agreement with the Rockford (Ill.) IceHogs of the United Hockey League.
The IceHogs will function as the secondary developmental affiliate of the Predators. Rockford has loaned a total of 13 players to Nashville's primary developmental affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League, in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
"Players that have developed in Rockford have consistently shown the ability to contribute to the Admirals when called upon," said Ray Shero, assistant general manager of the Predators. "The IceHogs have been able to foster both a winning culture and one in which players develop as professionals, and those two environments don't always come together. The Predators are excited to add Rockford to our developmental system."
Nashville prospects that have seen time with the IceHogs include defenseman Kevin Klein, who made his NHL debut with the Predators on December 3 vs. Philadelphia, and right wing Brandon Segal. Both players skated for Rockford in 2004-05 and Segal led the club in playoff goals (11 in 11 games).
Now in its seventh season, Rockford leads the UHL's West Division with a record of 16-6-1. The IceHogs are owned by Tri Vision Sports, LLC and play their home games at the Rockford MetroCentre, located in downtown Rockford.
Steve Martinson, Rockford's head coach and director of hockey, helped lead the IceHogs to their best season in franchise history in 2004-05 (46-25-9), his first behind the bench for the Hogs. The IceHogs were also named the 2004-05 UHL Member Franchise of the Year for the club's success on and off the ice.
Martinson was a teammate of Milwaukee Admirals head coach Claude Noel with the 1982-83 Toledo Goaldiggers (IHL) and was a teammate of Milwaukee assistant coach Todd Richards in 1989-90 with the Sherbrooke Canadiens (AHL).