Monday, August 2, 2010

Stockton Thunder / A Dual Affiliation - Edmonton, San Jose


08/02/2010 1:10 PM -
Thunder renews flourishing relationship with Oilers, aligns with prestigious Northern California neighbor Sharks for 2010-11 season
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STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Thunder of the ECHL and Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League have reached a one-year affiliation agreement for the 2010-11 season effective immediately, while the Thunder and San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League reached a one-year affiliation agreement for the 2010-11 season effective immediately, Thunder president Dan Chapman announced today in conjunction with the Oilers and Sharks at a news conference at Stockton Arena.

QUOTABLES
Thunder president Dan Chapman on San Jose: "The San Jose Sharks have been one of the premier NHL organizations over the last several years and we're very excited to begin working with them this upcoming season. For geographic reasons this affiliation makes a great deal of sense and we also look forward to their participation in making the Thunder an even better team in 2010-11."

 Chapman on renewing with Edmonton: "The Edmonton Oilers have been a terrific partner and we look forward to working with them for a fifth consecutive season in 2010-11. They are very focused on the development of the players, while at the same time working extremely well with our organization to make our team very competitive on the ice."

Oilers Assistant General Manager Rick Olczyk on Stockton: "We have had a tremendous affiliation with Stockton over the past four years and we are very excited about renewing for the upcoming season. The Thunder organization is first class and we are proud to be a partner with them again."

Sharks executive vice president and general manager Doug Wilson on Stockton: "We are very excited to add the Stockton Thunder as our ECHL development affiliate. The Thunder have done a great job bringing winning hockey to their market and we think the proximity of our teams will provide mutual benefits for both franchises on and off the ice."

Thunder head coach Matt Thomas on Edmonton: "My first order of business, this offseason, was renewing what has been an excellent relationship with the Edmonton Oilers. They have made a huge impact in allowing the Thunder to become a premier ECHL program, helping place young talent on the fast track to successful careers in the National Hockey League. I'm looking forward to working with Edmonton's prospects again this season."

Thomas on adding San Jose: "It's an exciting day to add another top notch organization, right in our own backyard, in the San Jose Sharks to our hockey family. They have a proven track record of talent development through their system and it's a tremendous opportunity to strengthen our hockey club. Our current affiliation with the Edmonton Oilers has been a huge success and we're looking forward to building the same relationship with the Sharks. I'm personally looking forward to help develop talent of two of the most exciting organizations during the 10-11 season."

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ABOUT THE EDMONTON OILERS/STOCKTON THUNDER AFFILIATION

For the fifth consecutive season, Stockton will serve as the AA minor-league affiliate for Oilers prospects. Since the Thunder and Oilers began their partnership in 2006-07, the Thunder has advanced to the Kelly Cup Playoffs four consecutive years and seven former Thunder players - right wing Troy Bodie, goaltender Devan Dubnyk, right wing Colin McDonald, center Ryan O'Marra, center Tim Sestito, left wing Liam Reddox and defenseman Bryan Young - have gone on to play in the NHL.

Within the Thunder's 23-man roster that advanced to the Conference Finals for the first time in club history last season, eight players were under an NHL or AHL contract through Edmonton:

Liam Reddox is one of seven
players with Thunder experience
to advance and make their NHL debut.
(Getty Images)


  • James Bates (RW)
  • Jordan Bendfeld (D)
  • Kelly Czuy (RW)
  • Riley Emmerson (RW)
  • Matt Marquardt (LW)
  • Andrew Perugini (G)
  • Bryan Pitton (G)
  • Bryan Young (D)

Additionally, goaltender Bryan Pitton became the first player in Thunder history to earn a recall directly to the NHL last season. He suited up for the Oilers on Jan. 2 at San Jose and backed up goaltender Jeff-Drouin Deslauriers, but did not play. Pitton recorded .921 save percentage, won eight of his last 12 ECHL games to finish 9-9-3 in the regular season with a 2.85 GAA and one shutout. Pitton broke a Thunder playoff record with 49 saves, earning his first career postseason shutout on May 5 vs. Idaho (1-0 win in triple overtime).

The Oilers, a member of the NHL's Western Conference and Northwest Division, have been a member of the National Hockey League since the 1979-80 season. A winner of five Stanley Cup Championships (1983-84, 1984-85, 1986-87, 1987-88 and 1989-90), the Oilers became the NHL's first-ever eighth playoff seed in league history to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2005-06 as the league's Western Conference Champion, falling in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Finals.

Currently led by president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe and general manager Steve Tambellini, the Oilers have sent six players from their NHL tenure to the Hockey Hall of Fame - a list of "who's who" in hockey history - including Wayne Gretzky (NHL's all-time leading scorer), Jari Kurri, Mark Messier, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey and Glenn Anderson. Glen Sather (President and General Manager) and Rod Phillips (Radio Broadcaster) have also earned spots in the Hall of Fame.

The agreement renewal is a supplement to the Thunder's additional announced affiliation with the San Jose Sharks of the NHL and Worcester Sharks of the AHL.

In conjunction with the agreement with Edmonton, the Oklahoma City Barons will serve as an AHL affiliate of the Thunder.
 
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The San Jose Sharks won their third straight Pacific Division crown, advanced to the Western Conference Finals and drew a franchise record 719,904 fans to HP Pavilion last year. (photo courtesy San Jose Sharks)

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ABOUT THE SAN JOSE SHARKS/STOCKTON THUNDER AFFILIATION

Stockton will serve as the AA minor-league affiliate for Sharks prospects, aligning two professional Northern California hockey clubs separated by just over 80 miles of distance. San Jose was affiliated with Kalamazoo of the ECHL last season and during the year, the K-Wings were North Division champions and finished tied for the best record in the American Conference with 94 points (42-20-8).

Six players were assigned to Kalamazoo from San Jose last season, including defensemen Will Colbert, Louis Liotti and Mitch Versteeg, right wingers Matt Jones and Dean Strong and goaltender Tyson Sexsmith.

The agreement, which began as a working partnership in January 2010, is a supplement to the Thunder's recently renewed affiliation with the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL and Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL.

Stockton and Edmonton have worked as affiliated partners since 2006-07 and since then, the Thunder has helped promote seven players to make their debut in the NHL.As hockey neighbors, both clubs also share similar honors in sports and entertainment. The Thunder is a two-time recipient of the ECHL "Award of Excellence," awarded to teams that are first-rate, who excel in all categories of sales and marketing, and who distinguish themselves in their community, both on and off the ice. The Thunder led the ECHL in attendance for four consecutive seasons and has drawn over an average of 6,000 fans per game through five consecutive years.

The Sharks recently finished as the 12th best overall franchise in ESPN's "Ultimate Standings," ranking all teams from the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the National Basketball Association according to an in-depth survey conducted by ESPN The Magazine. The "Ultimate Standings" ranked every franchise according to how much they give back to fans for all of time, money and emotion invested by each fan.

Both Stockton and San Jose advanced to their respective league's Conference Final playoff round last season.

The Sharks, a member of the NHL's Western Conference and Pacific Division, have been a member of the National Hockey League since the 1991-92 season. The Sharks have won three consecutive Pacific Division titles and have won five division championships (2001-02, 2003-04, 2007-10) in franchise history. In 2008-09, San Jose captured their first President's Trophy with the NHL's best regular season record (53-18-11, 117 points).

Like the Northern California-neighboring Thunder, the Sharks have enjoyed box office success each season on their own home ice and in the last four seasons, San Jose has drawn a total of 2,865,106 fans in the last 164 regular season games to HP Pavilion at San Jose. The Sharks set a franchise record with 719,904 fans attending the team's 41 home games in 2009-10.

In conjunction with the agreement with San Jose, the Worcester Sharks will serve as an AHL affiliate of the Thunder.

*reprinted by OilersJambalaya.com with permission from the Stockton Thunder Hockey club* 

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