The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has signed an affiliation agreement with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL, the professional developmental league for the American Hockey League and the National Hockey League. Cincinnati joins the Rochester Americans, the Sabres' AHL affiliate, as the chief minor-league development teams for the Sabres organization.
"We're excited to be able to partner with the Cyclones and fill an important part of our minor league system," said Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill. "The ECHL has proven to be a valuable training ground for prospects in the past and we anticipate Cincinnati becoming an asset to our organization in terms of developing talent for the NHL and AHL levels."
Since returning to the ECHL before the 2006-07 season, the Cyclones have been Kelly Cup Champions twice (2008 and 2010) and made the playoffs in eight of nine seasons. The team also won its division in 2009 and 2013 and was crowned ECHL Eastern Conference Champions in 2014.
The original Cincinnati Cyclones franchise debuted in the ECHL in 1990 before playing in the International Hockey League from 1992 to 2001. Prior to the 2001-02 season, a new franchise returned to the ECHL under the Cyclones name before going dormant from 2004 to 2006.
The ECHL, formerly known as the East Coast Hockey League, is considered the premier "AA" professional hockey league and has sent hundreds of players, coaches, officials and administrators to the AHL and NHL ranks since its founding in 1988.