The Washington Capitals just announced that they have extended their affiliation with AHL Hershey through the 2019-20 season.
“We are excited to extend our long-running affiliation with the Hershey Bears for four more years,” Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said in a release. “The success of our organization over the last decade speaks volumes about the strength of our relationship with Hershey. Our affiliation makes sense both geographically and on the ice, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Bears to develop our prospects into quality NHL players.”
In an interview with Mike Vogel, MacLellan was more candid about some of the struggles between the two organizations.
“I think there has been an inherent conflict of interest where they’ve had a business to run and they need to make it work for them financially,” MacLellan said to Vogel. “We have a different incentive where we’ve had to do what is best for young players. So there has always been a tug of war between the two. I’d like to think that we’ve made a lot of progress over the last two years and will continue to make more progress going forward here, to do what’s best for our guys but also to put a good product on the ice in Hershey, too.”
This season will mark the 12th straight year the Caps and Hershey have worked together. Before a long-term deal was inked Thursday, both clubs got in a routine of tentatively signing one-year pacts every summer.
“I think we’ve been doing one-year deals because we keep trying to change things to the way we want to do them instead of the way Hershey wanted to do them in the past,” Director of Player Development Steve Richmond said to Vogel. “I think we’re at a place now where we’re comfortable that they’re on the same page we’re on. We want to win down there, but we want to do it our way. And we proved last year that we could do it that way and we’ve won Calder Cups that way. So I think they finally bought into it. They made some changes there, and we finally have things the way we’ve wanted them.
“It’s probably 10 years overdue, and I think we suffered for it. We need guys down there to step in and be able to play quickly. And having these people down there – especially the strength coach, full-time every day with these kids – is really going to help us. That’s why we made the decision to make the long-term deal, because it’s going to be a professional organization down there now, with professionals that we want teaching our kids, the coaching staff, Helms running it and a strength coach and a trainer and everything. It’s just the way that it should be.”
More from the Caps:
The Washington Capitals and the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL) have extended their affiliation agreement through the 2019-20 season, Capitals senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan and Hershey vice president of hockey operations Bryan Helmer announced today.
The Bears, one of the AHL’s elite franchises, recently completed their 11th season as Washington’s AHL affiliate under the current agreement. Hershey reached the Calder Cup final in 2015-16 and has qualified for the playoffs in 10 of the last 11 seasons. The Bears won the Calder Cup in back-to-back seasons as the champions of the AHL in 2009 and 2010 as well as in 2006. In addition, Hershey has reached the Calder Cup final in five of the 11 seasons it has been affiliated with Washington under the current agreement. The Capitals and Bears boast the eighth-longest current NHL-AHL affiliation.
Last season, 21 former or current Bears played for Washington, including 2015-16 Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby. Holtby posted a 74-45-7 record with 14 shutouts, a 2.37 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage in 132 games with Hershey from 2009-13.
“The Hershey Bears organization is thrilled to continue our affiliation with the Washington Capitals,” Helmer said. “We consider being affiliated with the Capitals an honor and look forward to collaborating with the team even more in the future as the partnership continues to be a win-win for both organizations.”
For the 10th consecutive season, the Hershey Bears boasted the AHL’s top attendance with 372,020 fans visiting the GIANT Center in 2015-16, an average of 9,790 fans per game. Giant Center seats 10,500 for hockey and is located less than 140 miles from Verizon Center.
The Capitals and Bears were previously affiliated for seven seasons from 1977 to 1984, including the Bears’ 1980 Calder Cup championship.
Go Bears! Caps and Hershey Bears extend great partnership–details here. https://t.co/TiflYgUYA1
— Ted Leonsis (@TedLeonsis) October 6, 2016
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.