ROSEMONT — There is a big change coming for a Chicago area team in the American Hockey League.
WGN News has confirmed that the Chicago Wolves will be independent starting with the 2023-2024 season as the team will play without an affiliation with an NHL team.
Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada was the first to report the move on The Jeff Marek Show. Per The Athletic, the Wolves would be the first independent AHL team since the 1994-1995 season.
Essentially, this would mean the team would have more freedom to build their own roster and not be reliant on the NHL team to do so.
This will be the first time the organization has been without an affiliate since joining the AHL in the 2001-2002 season. They are currently the affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes, which has been the case since September 2020.
During their time in the AHL, they’ve also been affiliated with the Atlanta Thrashers (2001-2011), Vancouver Canucks (2011-2013), St. Louis Blues (2013-2017), and Vegas Golden Knights (2017-2020). During the pandemic-shortened 2021 season, the Wolves were also the affiliate for the Nashville Predators along with the Hurricanes.
The Wolves were founded in 1994 and began playing in the International Hockey League from that season through June 2001, winning two championships in that league.
During their time in the AHL, they’ve won three Calder Cups, including the 2021-2022 season. At the moment, the team is in a battle to get the last Central Division playoff spot with Rockford, the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks.
The IceHogs currently sit two points ahead of the Wolves with six games to play. The team has a pair of games with the Iowa Wild on Friday (Des Moines) and Saturday (Allstate Arena).