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Canucks announce ECHL partnership with Kalamazoo Wings

Kalamazoo joins Abbotsford as steps on the Canucks National Hockey League journey
The Kalamazoo Wings are now the ECHL affiliate for the Abbotsford Canucks and Vancouver Canucks (Canucks photo)

The Kalamazoo Wings are now part of the Abbotsford Canucks and Vancouver Canucks family.

Vancouver Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin announced on Monday (July 10) that the Michigan-based ECHL team has signed a one-year agreement to be an affiliate club for Vancouver and Abbotsford.

“Securing a full time ECHL affiliation is something we have wanted to do for our players and the Abbotsford Canucks,” stated Allvin. “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.”

Abbotsford Canucks general manager Ryan Johnson said the partnership will be crucial for Abbotsford and Vancouver.

“The goal for us is to try and develop players at all levels and having a direct pipeline to the ECHL is extremely important,” he said. “From day one we have talked about how we want to approach the game, our professionalism, our culture and using all available resources. 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.”

With this new agreement in place, the Wings will serve as a Canucks affiliate for the fourth time in franchise history. Vancouver and Kalamazoo first established a partnership from 1984 to 1987 while the K-Wings were members of the International Hockey League (IHL).

Kalamazoo also served as an affiliate club for the Canucks organization from 2011 to 2015 and again from 2017 to 2021. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the K-Wings suspended play for the entire 2020-21 ECHL season. The club was affiliated within the Columbus Blue Jackets system for the past two seasons.

“The K-Wings are excited to be working once again with the Vancouver Canucks and their AHL affiliate the Abbotsford Canucks,” said Joel Martin, Kalamazoo Wings Director of Hockey Operations and Head Coach. “We’re thankful for the opportunity and belief that Ryan Johnson, and the entire Canucks organization, have in us. Most importantly, we look forward to providing their young prospects with everything they need to develop.”

Kalamazoo plays in the ECHL’s Central Division and they open the 2023-24 on Oct. 21 when they host the Toledo Walleye.

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Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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