VEGAS (May 16, 2017) – Vegas Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee announced today, May 16, that the club has entered into a multi-year affiliation relationship with the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League, making the Wolves the official AHL affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights. Under the terms of the affiliation arrangements, the Golden Knights will be able to transfer players to and from Chicago during the 2017-18 season.
The St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong released a statement on the movement of the former St. Louis Blues AHL affiliate.
“The St. Louis Blues will not renew our primary affiliation with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves past the 2016-17 season. We will associate with the Vegas Golden Knights and supply players to the Golden Knights’ AHL affiliate next season.”
There will not be 31 NHL teams, but only 30 AHL teams.
The Blues and Wolves have had an affiliation since 2013. Now, St. Louis will “associate” with the Golden Knights, and have some it’s minor league players practice and play for the Wolves.
The major change will be that St. Louis will have no control over ice time.
The Wolves finished first in the 2016-17 Central Division and made it to the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs before falling to the Grand Rapids Griffins. The team finished with its best regular-season winning percentage (.664) since 2008. The Golden Knights’ first signee, Reid Duke, joined the Wolves on April 7 after signing a professional tryout contract.
The Wolves will be the primary affiliate of the Golden Knights.
Related story: Multiple Blues Coaches Won’t Return For 2017-18
Founded as part of the International Hockey League in 1994, the Chicago Wolves have enjoyed two decades of consistent success on the ice as home to some of the most prominent names in American hockey, like Chris Chelios, Troy Murray and Rob Brown. When the IHL folded in 2001, the franchise joined the AHL.
“American Hockey League affiliates play a significant role in the success of all NHL clubs and are we are proud to have the Chicago Wolves as our first in team history,” said Vegas Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee. “I would like to thank Don Levin, Wendell Young and the rest of the Wolves organization for their commitment to the game and helping young hockey players grow to reach their full potential as professionals. Chicago is without question one of the strongest, most passionate hockey communities in North America. This is a relationship that we truly believe will be mutually beneficial.”
An AHL affiliate is an NHL organization’s highest level of minor league affiliation.
Throughout the season, AHL players will be promoted (“recalled”) to the partner NHL club for a number of reasons. If an NHL player is injured, the team may recall a player from the AHL to temporarily take his place. They can then be sent back down to the minors (“assigned”) for a variety of reasons as well, including when an injured NHL player returns to full health.
Every NHL team has its own affiliate in the AHL, from where more than 88 percent of active NHL players are graduates.
The Vegas Golden Knights are a National Hockey League franchise owned and operated by Black Knight Sports and Entertainment LLC. The Vegas Golden Knights were established by founding partners William Foley and his family and the Maloof family.