Canucks announce Alaska Aces as ECHL Affiliate and Development Camp location

ClGCsK5WEAA9JZH.jpg-large

Image: Vancouver Canucks / Twitter

Nothing is happening on the ice, but there is still plenty of news from the Vancouver Canucks.

Earlier today, the Vancouver Canucks announced that the Alaska Aces would be their ECHL affiliate for the upcoming season

This news isn’t surprising as the ECHL only allows one NHL affiliate per franchise, and the Kalamazoo Wings had previously announced that they would be the ECHL affiliate for the Tampa Bay Lightning for the upcoming season. Actually, Kalamazoo was officially the affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets last year, but the Canucks assigned their players there.

Having Alaska as their ECHL affiliate isn’t the greatest situation as the Ace’s travel schedule is brutal with cross continent trips on a weekly basis. They also usually host the same opposition for two or three games in a row. Lastly, it is very far from Utica, so if Utica is in need of reinforcements, they may need to sign PTO’s instead of recalling players from Alaska.

The rule mentioned above about one affiliate per ECHL team isn’t strictly enforced, so some Canucks prospects may get assigned to other ECHL teams throughout the season. We’ll see if this affects some player movement.

Second piece of news this week, was that this year’s development camp will be held again on Vancouver Island at Shawnigan Lake School:

The camp will run from July 4-7, 2016 and the roster will be announced at a later date.

    • TrueBlue

      Really doubt that the Canucks would call up a player directly from the ECHL if that’s what you mean. I guess last-second back-up goalie is possible instead of one-day signing a trainer or goalie from UBC?

      Really odd location, but I don’t recall a whole lot of movement between Kalamazoo & Utica last year so maybe it’s a non-issue.

  • JuiceBox

    I am the only one who finds it kind of ammusing that there is an East Coast Hockey League team in Alaska?

    Could this mean a move out of Utica towards the west coast is imminent? Abbostford, Langley, Okanagan Valley?

  • JuiceBox

    Interesting news. Will miss Sarah Hobday’s updates from Kalamazoo. Hope this move is a sign the Canuck’s are getting more serious about player development top to bottom in the organization- like really working to develop prospects -even low level ones. Kalamazoo seemed like a bit of an afterthought, but the ECHL can be an important staging ground for lower level prospects to maybe make the leap to the AHL, and then who knows.

    • Sarah_Hobday

      Thank you for the kind words. Alaska only makes one east coast trip and one mid-west trip next season so I will try to see them then. Affiliations are pretty lax with rules so the Canucks can technically send their prospects to any ECHL team they want. I would not be surprised to see a player or two on a team in closer proximity to Utica for easier call-ups. Case in point – Kalamazoo was the affiliate of Columbus last season but never had any Columbus contracted players on the roster. Columbus sent prospects to Cincinnati instead.