The Washington Capitals and Hershey Bears are in talks to extend their affiliate agreement, Bryan Helmer, the Bears VP of Hockey Operations, said in a video teleconference on Tuesday. The news comes on the heels of the AHL canceling the rest of the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic on Monday.
The Capitals and Bears’ four-year agreement ends after this season. The two organizations have been affiliates for the last 15 years.
“We’re moving forward with talks and they’re going really well,” Helmer said. “We’ll hopefully have something done here soon and get some good back into hockey announcing something like that. We’ll see. The relationship right now is so good that we’re on good terms and everything at this point is going smooth.”
Helmer added that Hershey and Washington are having “an ongoing discussion… about who we’d like to bring back and when is that time that we can bring them back or even negotiate new contracts.”
According to the Associated Press’s Stephen Whyno, the Bears are one of 11 independently owned franchises in the AHL.
Hershey Bears are one of 11 independently owned franchises in 31 (soon to be 32) team AHL. David Andrews said league is healthiest it's ever been. The 20 NHL-owned teams are in good shape, so are many independents even if next season can't have full arenas. https://t.co/OhLD2seKx6
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) May 12, 2020
The Bears finished second in the Atlantic Division and fifth overall in the AHL this year after having a 37-18-3-4 record (81 standings points). Full-time Capitals players that graduated from Hershey this season include Ilya Samsonov, Jonas Siegenthaler, and Travis Boyd.
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk/RMNB
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