The Stockton Thunder, a two-time recipient of the ECHL “Award of Excellence,” and the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League have entered into a working agreement for the duration of 2009-10 season.
“The Sharks are excited to be associated with the Stockton Thunder and are pleased to once again have Head Coach Matt Thomas working with our players,” said Sharks Vice President and Assistant General Manager Wayne Thomas. “The Thunder is a well run, top-notch organization and geographically, the relationship makes a lot of sense. After working with both Fresno and Phoenix over the past decade, we are happy to re-establish a West Coast presence within the ECHL.”
This agreement will serve as a supplement to the Thunder’s continued working affiliation with the Edmonton Oilers and the Springfield Falcons of the AHL.
“We’re excited to enter a partnership with the San Jose Sharks and extend our association through the National Hockey League to a team right in our own backyard,” said Thomas. “The Sharks are a well-rounded, respected organization on and off the ice that is a model for success in the California market. We’re looking forward to a beneficial relationship.”
For the fourth consecutive season, Stockton is currently serving as the primary AA minor-league affiliate for Oilers prospects. Since the Thunder and Oilers began their partnership in 2006-07, the Thunder has advanced to the Kelly Cup Playoffs three consecutive years and seven former Thunder players – right wing Troy Bodie, goaltender Devan Dubnyk, right wing Colin McDonald, center Ryan O’Marra, center Tim Sestito, left wing Liam Reddox and defenseman Bryan Young – have gone on to play in the NHL.
The Thunder makes San Jose their third team as an NHL partner, joining present and past affiliates in the Edmonton Oilers (2006-present) and the Phoenix Coyotes (2005-06).
The Thunder was voted "Best Local Sports Team" by readers of the San Joaquin Magazine, has led the ECHL in attendance for four consecutive seasons and drew 223,854 fans to Stockton Arena in 2008-09.