The Chicago Wolves are the AAA-affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks.
Is this a big deal? Hmmm…not really.
Is this a good thing? Absolutely. It’s great to be affiliated with the American Hockey League. Part of the struggle of the Central Hockey League is access to really talented players.
Seems like this move was a result of the domino effect of the Thrashers moving to Winnipeg. See if you can follow this:
Thrashers to Winnipeg
Winnipeg ownership keeps their AHL affiliate and moves them from Winnipeg (Manitoba Moose) to Saint-John, NB
Vancouver then doesn’t have an AHL affiliate, so they align with the Chicago Wolves as their AAA team.
The Chicago Wolves used to have a relationship with Gwinnett of the ECHL (near Atlanta…the parent club).
Wolves vacate that relationship for a team closer to Chicago.
Missouri Mavericks — quick flight to O’Hare, which is right next to their arena. Makes total sense.
Now, I’m not 100% sure of this, but I think every Mavericks player has to be found by Mavericks management and then signs with the Mavericks…and that’s it. No flexibility for the player to play with anyone else during the season.
By being an affiliate of the Chicago Wolves, and by association the Vancouver Canucks, some of the players with the Mavericks will be signed to contracts that allow them to move from one franchise to another.
The affiliation agreement allows for Mavericks players to compete in the Chicago Wolves training camp, and it also allows for a limited number of players to be signed to two-way contracts between the Mavericks and the Wolves. Mavericks’ Head Coach Scott Hillman will attend the Wolves training camp in Chicago along with select Mavericks players.
A quick look at hockeydb.com shows that a handful of players played for both the Wolves and the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL last season, including Gwinnett’s leading scorer. It seems like goaltenders are usually the ones that move from ‘AA’ hockey to ‘AAA’ hockey the most. NHL teams would rather have their #1 prospect get playing time in the AHL than ride the bench in the NHL and, therefore, the #2 or #3 prospect goes to the ‘AA’ level for the same reason.
Good job Mavs!! Good news for us hockey fans in KC.