|Francis Wathier |
(Credit: Idaho Steelheads)
This means that the Idaho Steelheads will continue to be the Dallas and Texas Stars' ECHL affiliate.
The relationship with the Steelheads has been a strong one for the Texas Stars. Scott White began his career in the ECHL and has a huge belief in the role that it plays in the development of Dallas Stars. Idaho has been one of the most successful franchises out West, making the playoffs every year of their ECHL history and finishing below .500 just once (but still advancing to the second round of the playoffs that year). The Steelheads played a key role for the Stars this season as the lockout forced more players down to the Coast. As the Stars farm system continues to grow and shift, Idaho will continue to play an important role in player development.
As Scott White mentioned to me last week, there should be an announcement made officially on the ECHL relationship some time this week.
It is likely that the Allen Americans will continue to be the Stars' CHL affiliate, though their usage will likely be sparing. Not a single player was sent to the Americans this past season. It is, for now, mostly a symbolic affiliation, which serves to help marketing of the sport in the Dallas area. The court battle is the culmination of two years of rumours and speculation that Allen would move to the ECHL. The Central League is holding on by a thread and sued to block two of their most successful franchises from leaving, a case which they won. The Americans will be the first Central League champion to remain in the league to defend their title since 2010 when the Rapid City Rush defeated Allen in six games. Champions from 2011 and 2012, Bossier-Shreveport and Fort Wayne, both left the league. The Mudbugs folded, but the Komets continue on in the ECHL.
Wolski also reported that the CHL will lose the Fort Worth-based Brahmas. The Bloomington Blaze are also leaving and moving to the SPHL.