Vancouver, B.C. – Vancouver Canucks President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden announced today that the club has entered into an affiliation agreement with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL. Under this arrangement, the Canucks will designate players within their development system for assignment with the Aces during the 2016.17 season.
“We are pleased to enter into a new development partnership with the Aces,” said Canucks President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden. “The community of Anchorage has a rich history of developing players that have had success at the National Hockey League level. We’re excited to continue this tradition with the Aces and provide our prospects with an excellent environment for growth.”
The Aces, based in Anchorage, were 2005.06, 2010.11, and 2013.14 Kelly Cup Champions.
“As an organization we are extremely excited about this opportunity. We as a group feel that having Vancouver, the closest NHL team in proximity to Alaska, will give our fan base another team to cheer for,” said Aces Head Coach and President of Hockey Operations Rob Murray. “The parity in the ECHL has gotten stronger over the past few years and we felt it imperative to find an affiliation to help with not only recruiting but providing depth to the Aces. We will also be working closely with Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Utica throughout the 2016.17 season.”
The Anchorage Aces originally played in the Pacific Southwest Hockey League from 1989 through 1999 before joining the West Coast Hockey League from 1995 to 2003. The team joined the ECHL to start the 2003.04 season and were renamed the Alaska Aces after the league switch. The Aces were previously affiliated with the St. Louis Blues from 2005 to 2012, the Calgary Flames during the 2013.14 season, and both the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild during the 2014.15 season. Alaska currently competes in the ECHL’s West Division, which also includes Colorado, Idaho, Rapid City and Utah.
The Canucks have had previous ECHL affiliation agreements with the Columbus Chill (1992 to 1994), South Carolina Stingrays (1994.95), Columbia Inferno (2001 to 2006), Victoria Salmon Kings (2006 to 2011), and Kalamazoo Wings (2012 to 2015).