02/24/2024

STL:

1

DET:

6

Final

MTL:

3

NJD:

4

Final

TBL:

4

NYI:

2

Final

NYR:

2

PHI:

1

Final

WSH:

2

FLA:

3

Final

TOR:

4

COL:

3

Final

VGK:

3

OTT:

4

Final

BOS:

2

VAN:

3

Final

DAL:

2

CAR:

1

Final

CGY:

6

EDM:

3

Final

MIN:

5

SEA:

2

Final

NSH:

4

SJS:

2

Final

ANA:

2

LAK:

3

Final

02/25/2024

TBL:

4

NJD:

1

Final

PHI:

6

PIT:

7

Final

CAR:

2

BUF:

3

Final

NYR:

2

CBJ:

4

Final

DET:

3

CHI:

2

Final

ARI:

3

WPG:

4

Final

NSH:

4

ANA:

2

Final

02/26/2024

OTT:

3

WSH:

6

Final

NYI:

3

DAL:

2

Final

LAK:

2

EDM:

4

Final

BOS:

3

SEA:

4

Final

02/27/2024

WSH:

3

DET:

8

Final

BUF:

2

FLA:

3

Final

ARI:

2

MTL:

4

Final

TBL:

2

PHI:

6

Final

VGK:

6

TOR:

2

Final

CAR:

3

MIN:

2

Final

OTT:

1

NSH:

4

Final

STL:

2

WPG:

4

Final

LAK:

2

CGY:

4

Final

DAL:

1

COL:

5

Final

PIT:

4

VAN:

3

Final

NJD:

7

SJS:

2

Final

02/28/2024

CBJ:

0

NYR:

0

07:00 ET

STL:

0

EDM:

0

08:30 ET

02/29/2024

VGK:

0

BOS:

0

07:00 ET

CAR:

0

CBJ:

0

07:00 ET

NYI:

0

DET:

0

07:00 ET

MTL:

0

FLA:

0

07:00 ET

BUF:

0

TBL:

0

07:00 ET

ARI:

0

TOR:

0

07:00 ET

WPG:

0

DAL:

0

08:00 ET

MIN:

0

NSH:

0

08:00 ET

COL:

0

CHI:

0

09:00 ET

PIT:

0

SEA:

0

10:00 ET

LAK:

0

VAN:

0

10:00 ET

ANA:

0

SJS:

0

10:30 ET

03/01/2024

ARI:

0

OTT:

0

07:00 ET

PHI:

0

WSH:

0

07:00 ET

NJD:

0

ANA:

0

10:00 ET

ECHL: Are the Norfolk Admirals Seeking a New Affiliate for the 2023-2024 Season?

Photo Credit: Sam Chacon

As puck drop nears for the highly anticipated 2023-24 season, the Norfolk Admirals find themselves embarking on an exciting yet familiar quest – securing a new NHL and AHL affiliate.

NHL AHL and ECHL logos https://www.echl.com/en/pages/nhl-ahl-affiliations
Photo Credit: ECHL

The AHL and the ECHL play vital roles in the development of young hockey players looking to make their NHL debut. Each NHL team has an AHL affiliate, but not all ECHL teams are required to have an NHL affiliate; currently, only four NHL teams do not have an ECHL affiliate. Who do you think will be the Admirals’ new affiliate?

The Rundown:

Carolina Hurricanes and affiliates https://www.norfolkadmirals.com/en/news/admirals-extend-affiliation-with-hurricanes-and-wolves
Photo Credit: Norfolk Admirals

Way back in 2020, Carolina Hurricanes (NHL) and the Chicago Wolves (AHL) entered a three-year affiliation deal. Some quick math, and that brings us to this season. On April 5, 2023, the General Manager of the Wolves, Wendell Young, confirmed and announced that the team will become an independent AHL team at the end of the 2022-23 season. Furthermore, the Carolina Hurricanes and the Norfolk Admirals entered a one-year affiliation deal for the 2022-23 season.

The conclusion of the Admirals’ one-year affiliate agreement with the Carolina Hurricanes, coupled with their AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves’ decision to go independent, presents the Admirals with a prime opportunity to redefine their path to success. Because why would the Admirals want to have an NHL affiliate with no AHL farm system? It just wouldn’t make sense. So in this critical phase, the Admirals are likely exploring new affiliations with NHL teams. As mentioned earlier, four teams currently do not have an ECHL affiliate. The Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, St. Louis Blues, and Winnipeg Jets would emerge as top contenders, each offering unique strengths that could elevate the Admirals’ journey.

Let the fun begin.

The Arizona / Houston / Salt Lake / Quebec City Coyotes:

Coyotes jersey https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nhl/news/coyotes-logo-arizona-state-hockey-arena/sfhjo0muv2zobealx0fologd
Photo Credit: The Sporting News

Among the prospective affiliates, the Arizona Coyotes stand out as a decent possibility… to put it nicely. Despite their proven commitment to developing prospects, the Coyotes have a very uncertain future. Just a couple of months ago, Tempe voters decisively turned down a ballot initiative proposing a $2.1 billion entertainment district that would include a new Coyotes arena, leaving fans disappointed and team management devastated. It’s likely the uncertainty of the team’s future is enough of a deterrent for the Admirals to look elsewhere… but what do I know.

A Chance to Grow Together – The Columbus Blue Jackets:

adam fantilli draft pic https://www.dispatch.com/story/sports/nhl/columbus-blue-jackets/2023/06/28/columbus-blue-jackets-select-center-adam-fantilli-third-in-nhl-draft/70365368007/
Photo Credit: George Walker IV

One of my personal favorite possible affiliates: the Blue Jackets. Fresh off a successful 2023 NHL draft where they secured a plethora of promising talent, the Columbus Blue Jackets present a compelling case for the Admirals, along with their AHL affiliate, the Cleveland Monsters.

With a roster boasting potential stars in the making, a partnership with the Blue Jackets offers a shared avenue to success, as both organizations would strive to build competitive rosters capable of vying for championships at both the ECHL and NHL levels.

cleveland monsters logo https://www.news5cleveland.com/sports/local-sports/cleveland-monsters-unveil-new-logos-color-schemes-ahead-of-2023-24-season
Photo Credit: Cleveland Monsters

And let’s not forget about the fresh new logo and jerseys for the AHL Cleveland Monsters. So. Clean.

A fresh and dynamic design can serve as a symbol of renewal and a new beginning, inspiring the team and its fans alike. With this fresh start, the Monsters have the opportunity to redefine their identity and set new goals for success, presenting a promising outlook for the future.

Similarly, for the Admirals, partnering with a team like the Monsters, who are embracing change and aiming for greatness, could foster a culture of growth and improvement within the Admirals organization.

The Safe Bet – The St. Louis Blues:

blues and thunderbirds logos https://theahl.com/thunderbirds-announce-new-partnership-with-blues
Photo Credit: AHL

Honestly, nothing really crazy to see here.

With the Admirals on the lookout for a strong NHL affiliate, the St. Louis Blues emerge as a solid contender and safe bet with their renowned farm system. Currently without an ECHL affiliate, the Blues’ and Springfield Thunderbirds’ potential collaboration with the Admirals adds excitement to the mix.

The city of St. Louis itself adds to the allure of this potential collaboration. With a rich hockey culture and passionate fanbase, it offers a vibrant and supportive environment for players to thrive. The Blues’ commitment to excellence aligns perfectly with the Admirals’ aspirations, creating a mutual desire to build competitive rosters and compete for championships at both the ECHL and NHL levels. I mean, it was only four years ago they won the Stanley Cup.

Through this affiliation, the Admirals have the chance to tap into the expertise and resources of the Blues and Thunderbirds, gaining a competitive edge and fostering a culture of growth and success. As both organizations share a common vision of greatness, this partnership holds great potential for Stanley Cup and Kelly Cup championships to come. Like I said, pretty standard. Nothing really crazy to see here.

They’re Just So Cool: The Winnipeg Jets

Mick E. Moose Mascot https://moosehockey.com/community/mick-e-moose/
Photo Credit: Manitoba Moose

I tried to think of a joke with jets and Top Gun and the Naval school and the Admirals and ships and the Navy and stuff — but I couldn’t, so here goes: The Jets are just cool. Their logo? 10/10. Their mascot’s name is Mick E. Moose? 10/10. Their AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose? 10/10. The Winnipeg White-Out?! 10/10. The fact that they play in Canada alone breaks the coolness scale. 11/10.

The Norfolk Admirals should consider the Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose as potential partners. The Jets boast an impressive farm system, represented by the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, attracting the Admirals’ (and my) attention.

The Manitoba Moose have a track record of developing top-tier talents, evident in their recent qualification for the Calder Cup playoffs, showcasing their competitiveness in the AHL and ability to groom players for NHL success.

As a whole, the city of Winnipeg, Canada, known for its fervent hockey culture, offers a supportive environment for player growth. With enthusiastic fan support at Bell MTS Place, the home arena of both the Jets and the Moose, players thrive in a hockey-rich atmosphere. In my humble opinion, the Admirals need this electricity and should heavily consider Winnipeg as a tempting affiliate. Plus, they’re cool.

The Verdict:

I’m just a fan; I have no idea what the Admirals are going to do. Do I have my hopes? Yes. Winnipeg and Columbus, to me, would be great and something really exciting and igniting for the Admirals.

Embracing change and the unknown, the Admirals’ management remains steadfast in their determination to carve a bright future. This transitional phase creates the opportunity for growth, solid bonds, and fresh alliances within the hockey world.

As the Admirals ready themselves for the 2023-24 season, their commitment to assembling a formidable roster and fostering an environment of excellence remains unwavering. The affiliation decision holds the key to shaping their trajectory, charting a course toward championship contention in the years to come.

Sam Chacon

Sam Chacon is a Target Analyst serving the U.S. Air Force, and an aspiring writer for Inside the Rink covering the San Jose Sharks, Vegas Golden Knights, and the Norfolk Admirals

4 thoughts on “ECHL: Are the Norfolk Admirals Seeking a New Affiliate for the 2023-2024 Season?

  1. I’m a frequent attendee of Admirals games, living just 45 minutes or so from Norfolk. I’m also a fervent ‘Canes fan, but I found that the ‘Canes really didn’t take their affiliation with Norfolk too seriously. Both the ‘Canes and Wolves did well in the ’22-’23 season while the Admirals played anchor for the ECHL. Plenty of information was shared about player movements between Raleigh and Chicago, but incredibly little involving Norfolk.

    I think it would actually be in Norfolk’s best interest to find an NHL affiliate that actually supports the Admirals and boosts the Admirals roster with strong upcoming skaters and tendies. That said, of the four teams you mention, I think St. Louis and Winnipeg would be the better bets, though Columbus seems to be on an upswing which could prove beneficial, as well.
    An Arizona affiliation, I think, would be a horrible idea. Arizona’s arena woes and lackluster performance over many seasons wouldn’t do Norfolk any favors at all.

    Great article!

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