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Blues Announce Affiliation with Kalamazoo Wings
On Thursday, the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL announced that the team would be affiliated with the St. Louis Blues. This includes, naturally, a partnership with the AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. Both the Wolves and the Blues will be able to assign players to the K-Wings.
Last season, the Blues’ ECHL affiliate was the Evansville IceMen, who were also affiliated with the Columbus Blue Jackets organization. This resulted in a few generally sticky situations, one of which involved the IceMen suddenly having no goaltenders due to callups. A few of the ECHL roster rules, namely the 20-man roster limit and the necessity for two dressed goaltenders in each game, have a lot of potential to cause issues for a team with two parent clubs constantly assigning and recalling players.
Unfortunately though, the Blues seem to be making a switch from one crowded ECHL affiliate to another. On Thursday, along with the affiliation with the Blues, the K-Wings announced the renewal of their affiliation with the Vancouver Canucks organization. This season will mark the K-Wings’ third as Vancouver’s affiliate. This means that the Canucks, the Utica Comets (AHL), the Blues, and the Chicago Wolves can all assign players to the K-Wings.
Let’s also not neglect the irony of the Blues and Canucks’ inability to stop tangling with each other. The Canucks bought the Rivermen leaving the Wolves for the Blues, the Canucks scrapped the Rivermen and started a new team in Utica, and now, at the ECHL level, the two teams get to go be one big, happy family up in Kalamazoo. They just can’t keep their hands off each other. It’s making everyone a little bit uncomfortable.
The K-Wings’ season opener will be on October 19th in Evansville against the IceMen.
My favorite part of all of this, though:
Ken Hitchcock, Blues head coach, was the coach for Kalamazoo from 1993-1996. (mlive.com) Anywhere Hitch can go is a place that will be full of possibilities. I’ll stand by that belief.
Featured image courtesy of tegan.baiocchi/flickr.