Canucks announce one year agreement for Kalamazoo Wings to become ECHL affiliate
Photo credit:Kalamazoo Wings
2 months ago
The Vancouver Canucks are re-partnering with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings. General manager Patrik Allvin announced Monday that the club has signed a one-year agreement that will see the Kalamazoo Wings become the ECHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks and AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks this upcoming season.
This is great news for the Canucks’ development staff, as they now have another place to send prospects who could maybe benefit from more playing time that they’re not yet ready for at the AHL level. The “K-Wings” have served as the Canucks’ ECHL affiliate before, first from 2011 to 2015 and then again from 2017 to 2021. Since then, the Canucks have still loaned players to Kalamazoo in a bit of a more informal agreement, but having it down on paper is great news for the organization.
“Securing a full-time ECHL affiliation is something we have wanted to do for our players and the Abbotsford Canucks,” said Patrik 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.”
One way this news impacts the Canucks is it gives them a place to put a goaltender if they want him to get playing time, something the organization hasn’t had the luxury of in recent years. Instead, they’ve had to loan young goaltending prospects like Arturs Silovs to other ECHL clubs where they haven’t received much playing time.
Now, with 23-year-old Nikita Tolopilo making the jump to North America, the Canucks can have more assurance that he’ll get playing time in the ECHL, should the organization go that route. As we outlined last week, there’s a good chance that Tolopilo — who led the Allsvenskan in save percentage last year and showed well at last week’s Canucks development camp — spends the entire year in the AHL, but at least the Canucks now have a stable option in the ECHL.
Fun fact: The ECHL doesn’t stand for “East Coast Hockey League” anymore. In a change reflective of the league’s nationwide presence, the East Coast Hockey League shortened its name to the orphan initialism ECHL on May 19, 2003. So yes, the ECHL stands for nothing.
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