The Vancouver Canucks of the NHL and the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL announced today that the teams have partnered up for an affiliate deal for the 2023-24 season. This is the first ECHL partnership the Canucks have had since the 2021 season, opting to go without an ECHL affiliate in recent years. Adding Kalamazoo as an ECHL partner team helps to round out the Canucks development pipeline, which also consists of the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks team. The current partnership deal between the clubs marks the fourth time Kalamazoo has partnered up to join the Canucks. The Wings first served as an affiliate partner from 1984-87, then again from 2011-15 and 2017-21. In their previous tenure as the Canucks’ affiliate, the Wings won two North Division championships in both 2012 and 2014 and made four playoff appearances.
When announcing the new partnership, Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin had this to say, “Giving our guys every opportunity to grow, improve and succeed on the ice Is extremely important to the hockey club. Having this agreement with Kalamazoo gives our team and our development staff another touchpoint in the long hard journey to becoming a pro hockey player.” Additionally, Abbotsford Canucks General Manager Ryan Johnson spoke about the value of having a third team in the Canucks pipeline, saying, “Teaming up with Joel Martin and his staff in Kalamazoo is another key building block in our player development process and will only help make our organization stronger.”
The Canucks season will get started on October 11th, with the Wings season kicking off on October 21st.