BEAUMONT, Texas – The Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League’s have signed the Texas Wildcatters to be their ECHL affiliate, the teams announced Thursday at a press conference in downtown Beaumont. This marks Houston’s first season with the Wildcatters, who play their home games at Ford Arena – less than 90 miles from downtown Houston.
"We look forward to working with Wildcatters coach Malcolm Cameron in the development of our young players,” Aeros assistant general manager/assistant coach Matt Shaw said. “With the proximity of Beaumont to Houston, we are able to easily call up players, and give Aeros fans a chance to see our stars of the future while they develop their careers in Beaumont."
Began in 1988 with five teams in three states, the ECHL welcomes the Wildcatters and the Cincinnati Cyclones back to the ice in 2006-07 and will play with 27 teams in 15 states and one Canadian province. The ECHL welcomed new markets in Phoenix, Stockton (California) and Utah (Salt Lake City) in 2005-06.
The Premier “AA” Hockey League, the ECHL had affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League and with 21 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League in 2005-06. The ECHL will be represented on the Stanley Cup champion for the sixth consecutive year in 2006 and will be represented on the Calder Cup champion for the 17th straight year in 2006.