The ECHL Utah Grizzlies have announced that they have become the newest ECHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche. The two teams will make the announcement official at noon on Thursday during a press conference in Utah.
The Grizzlies invite fans to Maverik Center Thursday at 12:15 p.m. where they will announce details on their new affiliation with the Colorado Avalanche. pic.twitter.com/geXSnQBqLO— Utah Grizzlies (@UtahGrizz) June 25, 2018
The Avalanche have had an affiliation with the ECCHL Colorado Eagles since 2016, but have since promoted that group to the AHL while simultaneously ending their arrangement with the AHL San Antonio Rampage. The Grizzlies have been in West Valley, Utah since 2005 and were the ECHL team for the Anaheim Ducks until 2017.
All of this hard work by the Avalanche in changing their affiliations with other professional leagues in the past year has borne fruit, as all three of the NHL, AHL, and ECHL teams are now separated by only one state line.
The ability for an NHL team’s front office and fans to be able to be within driving distance of all of their pro players is something that NHL teams have been doing a lot more in recent years, after the focus on development and ccommunication between developmental clubs and parent clubs becomes more important. It definitely helps with marketing, too, as teams can sell a more family-friendly ticket to an AHL or ECHL game, where kids can get infinitely more access to the players.
And last, but not least, for fun here is a list of current NHLers who spent time developing with the Grizzlies.
-Michael Ferland: Calgary Flames: With Utah during the 2012-2013 season.
- Mike Smith: Calgary Flames: With Utah from 2002-2004 seasons.
- Mark Streit: Philadelphia Flyers: With Utah during the 1999-2000 season.