Walleye to be ECHL Affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks!
8/6/2009 - The Toledo Walleye are pleased to announce that they have reached affiliation agreements with the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League for the 2009-10 season.
Under terms of the agreement, the Red Wings and Blackhawks will assign contracted players to the Walleye.
With an emphasis on player development, the Walleye will serve as the ECHL affiliate of Detroit and Chicago. The Walleye will also work and develop prospects with the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit) and Rockford IceHogs (Chicago) of the American Hockey League.
Joe Napoli, Walleye President/General Manager, discussed the affiliations: “We are thrilled to be affiliated with the Detroit Red Wings and Hockeytown...83 years of hockey and 11 Stanley Cups says it all. The Detroit Red Wings set the standards for all to follow.”
“Not many franchises are as fortunate as the Walleye. We are now affiliated with two of the ‘Original Six’. One team that is a standard bearer for the NHL and the Blackhawks, a team that has rekindled its' love affair with the fans in the Windy City. We couldn't be more pleased and we, like the Blackhawks, hope to re-establish Toledo's love affair with hockey.”
“In today’s National Hockey League, developing young players is one of the most important aspects of a successful franchise,” said Red Wings Vice President/Assistant General Manager Jim Nill. “The affiliation with Toledo has been a key component of that process for the Red Wings and we’re very pleased to continue our alliance for another season.”
“We are proud to have Toledo as our brand new ECHL affiliate,” Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman said. “Our organization is full of talented young prospects, many of which will now have the opportunity to develop their skills in a winning environment with the Walleye. We are excited to have these players work with Nick Vitucci and his tremendous staff.”
Chicago Blackhawks General Manager of Minor League Affiliations, Mark Bernard said, “Both the Chicago Blackhawks and Rockford IceHogs are thrilled about this affiliation agreement. Toledo has a rich hockey history and we know the Walleye will add to that in their inaugural season. Our young prospects will be able to flourish in this environment as we know they have a brand new state-of-the-art facility and a tremendous Head Coach in Nick Vitucci. Nick has consistently been a winner in the ECHL both as a player and now as a Head Coach, so we are very confident he will teach and push the Blackhawks prospects to be at their best each and every day and aspire to be champions themselves.”
Walleye Head Coach and Director of Player Personnel Nick Vitucci added, “We have been very fortunate to have a long history of working with the Detroit Red Wings and are thrilled to be able to call them an affiliate once again. The Red Wings are an organization that is very well respected by everyone in the hockey world. The opportunity to be working with and helping to develop their young prospects is very exciting.”
“I am very excited to be working with the Blackhawks for a few reasons,” Vitucci said. “This gives the Walleye a unique opportunity to be working with and developing players from another ‘Original 6’ hockey team. The Blackhawks have shown in the last few years that they are an exciting, talented and high-energy team that will be competing for championships for years to come. Personally, it gives me an opportunity to work with old teammates in Mark Bernard, Al MacIsaac and John Torchetti.”
Toledo ECHL Affiliations
Chicago Blackhawks (2006-07)
Detroit Red Wings (1991-99, 2000-07, 2009-10)
Nashville Predators (2002-04)
San Jose Sharks (2005-06)
Tampa Bay Lightning (1999-00)
The Toledo Walleye will begin the regular season on Friday, October 16 at 7:00 PM vs. the Florida Everblades at the Lucas County Multi-Purpose Arena. Season tickets and mini-plan packages are on sale now and group outings are being reserved. Fans can call (419) 725-WALL for more information.