GLENVIEW – When their season resumes, with the hope of that happening before the end of 2020, the Chicago Wolves will feature a collection of new players thanks to a new affiliation.
On Thursday, the American Hockey League officially became an affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes starting with the 2020-2021 season.
This comes after the franchise’s three-year run with the Vegas Golden Knights came to an end this past season. This is the fifth time the franchise has switched affiliations in their AHL history, having previously been with the Atlanta Thrashers (2001-2011), Vancouver Canucks (2011-2013), and St. Louis Blues (2013-2017).
In the earlier years following the start of the franchise in 1994, the team had loose affiliations with the Blackhawks and Islanders while members of the IHL.
The affiliation agreement with Atlanta has a connection to this one with the Hurricanes that comes through Don Waddell. The Carolina president and general manager was in the same position with the Thrashers when the Wolves came on as an affiliate 19 years ago.
“We want to continue the relationship we had,” said Wolves team chairman Don Levin in a statement released by the team. “I don’t want to change anything. We had great communication and we like helping each other succeed. NHL general managers want to win championships with their players that are being developed by their AHL affiliate. That’s exactly what we want to do.”
Since Waddell took over as president and general manager in May of 2018, things have been looking up for the Hurricanes. Since their Stanley Cup Title in 2006, the franchise had only made the playoffs once in the following 12 years.
In 2018-2019, the Hurricanes stunned many with their surprising run to the Eastern Conference Finals. This year won a preliminary round series before losing to the Bruins in the traditional Stanley Cup Playoffs in Toronto.
What also makes this union interesting is the fact that the previous Hurricanes affiliate – the Charlotte Checkers – and the Wolves met in the 2019 Calder Cup Final. Charlotte won that series in five games, and now some of those players may find themselves on the Wolves when the season is expected to begin in December.
“We are proud to be affiliated with such a historically and financially successful American Hockey League franchise,” Waddell said in a statement released through the team. “I’m confident our prospects will receive first-class treatment in Chicago, while continuing to be guided by coaches, management and trainers who work closely with the parent club in Raleigh.”
With a little bit of the past mixing to produce great things in the present for the Wolves.