(via TampaBay Lightning Communications) - TheTampa Bay Lightning announced today that the club has extended their agreement with their American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, for two years. The extension agreement ensures the Lightning will develop their top prospects in Syracuse through the 2016-17 season.
“We are pleased to be announcing the extension of our affiliation with the Crunch,” Lightning vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman said. “The support of the Syracuse community and as well as from Howard Dolgon and his group has been fantastic these past two seasons and we look forward to continuing to build on these relationships for the coming years.”
In 2012-13, during the Lightning’s first season affiliated with the Crunch, Syracuse completed their most successful season in the AHL, making their first appearance in the Calder Cup Finals. Since the beginning of the affiliation two seasons ago, 26 former or current Crunch players have skated in at least one game for the Lightning.
"We are thrilled to be extending our partnership with the Tampa Bay Lightning and continuing to grow our strong relationships with Steve Yzerman, Julien Brisebois and the entire Lightning organization,” Crunch owner Howard Dolgon said upon the announcement.
“The partnership with the Crunch has been of tremendous help in improving our minor league development program,” Lightning assistant general manager Julien BriseBois said. “The support from Howard Dolgon’s group, the facilities at our players’ disposal, the travel and the local fan support have all contributed to us graduating many players to the NHL these past two years and we are happy to know we will be developing future Lightning players in Syracuse for the coming seasons.”
The Crunch own a record of 74-54-10-14 over the past two seasons they’ve been affiliated with the Lightning. In 2012-13 the Crunch reached the Calder Cup Finals, but lost in six games to the Grand Rapids Griffins.