CANUCKS ANNOUNCE ECHL PARTNERSHIP WITH KALAMAZOO WINGS FOR 2023.24 SEASON
Vancouver, B.C. - Vancouver Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin announced today that the Kalamazoo Wings have signed a one-year agreement to be the ECHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks and AHL Abbotsford Canucks for the 2023.24 season.
"Securing a full time ECHL affiliation is something we have wanted to do for our players and the Abbotsford Canucks," said Allvin. "Giving our guys every opportunity to grow, improve and succeed on the ice Is extremely important to the hockey club. Having this agreement with Kalamazoo gives our team and our development staff another touchpoint in the long hard journey to becoming a pro hockey player."
"The goal for us is to try and develop players at all levels and having a direct pipeline to the ECHL is extremely important," said Ryan Johnson, General Manager Abbotsford Canucks and Assistant to the General Manager, Vancouver Canucks. "From day one we have talked about how we want to approach the game, our professionalism, our culture and using all available resources. Teaming up with Joel Martin and his staff in Kalamazoo is another key building block in our player development process and will only help make our organization stronger."
"The K-Wings are excited to be working once again with the Vancouver Canucks and their AHL affiliate the Abbotsford Canucks," said Joel Martin, Kalamazoo Wings Director of Hockey Operations and Head Coach. "We're thankful for the opportunity and belief that Ryan Johnson, and the entire Canucks organization, have in us. Most importantly, we look forward to providing their young prospects with everything they need to develop."
With this new agreement in place, the Wings will serve as a Canucks affiliate for the fourth time in franchise history. Vancouver and Kalamazoo first established a partnership from 1984 to 1987 while the K-Wings were members of the International Hockey League (IHL).
Kalamazoo also served as an affiliate club for the Canucks organization from 2011 to 2015 and again from 2017 to 2021. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the K-Wings suspended play for the entire 2020.21 ECHL season.
The K-Wings originally played in the IHL from 1974 through 1999 before joining the United Hockey League (UHL) from 2000 to 2006. The team then entered the newly re-established IHL from 2007 to 2009 before most recently joining the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) to start the 2009.10 season.
Throughout their ECHL affiliate history with the Vancouver Canucks, Kalamazoo won two North Division Championships (2012 & 2014) and made four of six possible playoff appearances.
The club will continue to play in the Western Conference's Central Division in the upcoming 2023.24 season. The ECHL is comprised of 28 teams evenly spread out across four divisions (Central, Mountain, North, South) and two conferences (Eastern, Western).