Eagles fly with the Jets

It was officially announced today that the Colorado Eagles will be the official ECHL affiliate to the Winnipeg Jets and the St. John’s IceCaps.

The Eagles have spent the past ten seasons in the CHL and like the Jets and IceCaps, the 2011-12 season will be their first in their new league. Many had suspected the affiliation, but until today the Jets and IceCaps had nowhere to send the prospects that weren’t ready for AHL play.

The ECHL and AHL are the only two developmental leagues recognized by the CBA and with the Jets attention to player development locking down an ECHL affiliate they felt comfortable with was an important step. The Eagles home opener is on October 21 with regular season play starting a week earlier on the 14th. The ECHL plays a 72-game regular season ending in March.

The Eagles play out of the 5,289 seat Budweiser Events Center in the Mountain Division of the Western Conference. The ECHL consists of 20 teams, 12 playing out of the East in three divisions of four and 8 playing out of the West in two divisions of four. The Eagles playoff chances are high as 7 of the 8 Western teams make the playoffs while 8 of the 12 make it in the East.

The Thrashers ECHL affiliate last year was the Gwinnett Gladiators, which in a twist of irony has now become the ECHL affiliate of the former Jets, the Phoenix Coyotes.

One of the most impressive stats the Colorado Eagles bring into the ECHL is that they’ve sold out EVERY game in their history in the CHL – over 300 straight sell outs. With the success of selling tickets in Winnipeg and St. John’s so far, this may just be the most successful trio of affiliates in professional hockey when it comes to selling tickets; a far cry from being unable to support hockey in Winnipeg like many suggested.

Is it possible that Winnipeg has now secured the best run franchise in the ECHL?

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Jeff Stevenson is a co-founder of winnipegwhiteout.com and co-host of the popular Jets Hockey Podcast. He grew up in Winnipeg, MB and became very passionate about sports, hockey and the Jets. Now Jeff is proud and honored to help bring news and information about the Winnipeg Jets to fans around the world.