Dallas and Texas Stars Announce Two-Year Affiliation Renewal with Idaho Steelheads

(Credit: Idaho Steelheads)
In what has become an annual ritual, the Dallas Stars announced today that they will re-up their affiliation with the Idaho Steelheads. This year's announcement comes with the added bonus of a two-year agreement. Up to this point, each agreement was a single season. It's a strong vote of confidence for Neil Graham, who was in his rookie season as the coach and GM of the team.

It is interesting to compare how Texas has used its ECHL affiliate over the past seven years. Now that the organization's depth is more established, they are using the Steelheads more to their advantage and having fewer PTO players from other ECHL clubs. With the potential goalie situation this coming season, the development that Idaho can provide will be more valuable than ever this year.

The coming season will mark the twelfth consecutive season – and 13th season in total – that Dallas and Idaho have been affiliates, which makes it the third-longest continuous active affiliation in the ECHL. Wheeling (Pittsburgh, 1998) and Florida (Carolina, 1998) pre-date Idaho’s uninterrupted time with Dallas, which began in 2005.

Here's the release:
The Dallas Stars announced today that the club will renew its affiliation with the ECHL's Idaho Steelheads through the conclusion of the 2017-18 season.

The Steelheads have served as Dallas' ECHL affiliate since the 2005-06 season, and previous to that, during the 2003-04 campaign. Idaho has reached the Kelly Cup Finals three times as an affiliate of the Dallas Stars, winning the Kelly Cup twice (2004 and 2007). The Steelheads finished second in the West Division and fifth in the Western Conference with a record of 38-24-7-3 during the 2015-16 season.

"We are pleased to renew our affiliation with the Steelheads for the next two seasons," said Director of Hockey Operations and Texas Stars General Manager Scott White. "Head Coach Neil Graham is a good, young coach who quickly built a strong rapport with his players. He gives his players every opportunity to succeed and has fostered the developmental culture we strive to possess throughout the entire organization. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Steelheads."

The Texas Stars will continue to operate as Dallas' top development affiliate in the American Hockey League.