After what many thought would be a hunt for a new affiliate partnership at both the AHL and ECHL levels, it looks like one link in the Carolina Hurricanes prospect pipeline has been re-established. The Carolina Hurricanes have announced an extension to their working partnership with the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals for the 2023-24 season.
The two teams originally began working together in August of 2021 and renewed their affiliation for an additional year, concluding with the 2022-23 season. As such, it appeared that the Canes would possibly be shopping for a new ECHL affiliate for the 2023-24 season. In addition, it was recently announced that the Admirals formalized a deal to become the official ECHL affiliate team of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. In April, the Hurricanes AHL affiliate partner, the Chicago Wolves, opted to go independent for the 2023-24 season, foregoing an NHL affiliation entirely. As a result, many thought the Hurricanes would be shopping for a partner at both the AHL and ECHL levels. However, the ECHL only operates 28 teams, while the NHL operates 32. This leaves four NHL teams without an ECHL partner and can consequently lead to one ECHL team working in tandem with multiple teams in the NHL.
“We are pleased to continue our important relationship with the Norfolk Admirals. They are a great organization which we will continue to utilize in developing our young talent,” stated Carolina Hurricanes President and General Manager Don Waddell. Having the extra stop along the development pipeline in North America can be an invaluable tool for teams building young talent. As the Canes are still without an AHL affiliate team, the continuing partnership with Norfolk gives the team a place to send players to develop in their (metaphorical) backyard.