RALEIGH, NC - Jason Karmanos, Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes, announced today that the Hurricanes have reached an affiliation agreement with the Albany River Rats of the American Hockey League. Karmanos also announced that Carolina 's minor-league prospects will continue to play under the guidance of Head Coach and General Manager Tom Rowe.
"We are excited to partner with an established AHL franchise in the River Rats," said Karmanos. "The city of Albany and the River Rats' facilities will give players in the Hurricanes system a great place to play and improve their games."
The River Rats will serve as the Hurricanes' top minor-league affiliate for the 2006-07 season, and Carolina has options to extend the affiliation through the 2008-09 season. The Hurricanes are responsible for providing the River Rats' full roster but can partner with another NHL franchise to fulfill that obligation.
The Albany River Rats are currently the fourth-longest tenured team in the AHL behind Hershey, Rochester and Providence . In the team's 13-year history, more than 100 players have skated for both the River Rats and NHL teams. The River Rats, owned and operated by Capital District Sports Inc., captured the Calder Cup as the AHL playoff champions in 1994-95.
The Carolina Hurricanes franchise joined the National Hockey League in 1979 and is currently in its ninth season in North Carolina . The Hurricanes clinched the 2005-06 Southeast Division title on March 31 and currently rank second in the NHL's Eastern Conference standings. This season marks the third Southeast Division title claimed by the Hurricanes since the division was created prior to the 1998-99 season, and first since the team made its memorable run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2002.