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Bears, Capitals extend affiliation agreement

The Hershey Bears and Washington Capitals jointly announced today that the clubs have extended their affiliation agreement through the 2015-16 season. The announcement was made by Hershey Bears president/GM Doug Yingst and Washington Capitals president Dick Patrick.

Under the current agreement, the Bears completed their milestone 10th season as Washington’s American Hockey League affiliate. The Bears have qualified for postseason play in nine of the last 10 years, won back-to-back Calder Cup championships in 2009 and 2010, claimed their first title in the first year of the affiliation in 2006, and reached the Calder Cup Finals in 2007.

“The Hershey Bears are proud to continue one of the longest-running partnerships in professional hockey,” Yingst said. “This affiliation has always made perfect geographic and logistical sense, and we expect that fans in both Hershey and Washington will again have a competitive and exciting team to cheer for.”

Last season, 22 former or current Bears played for Washington: Karl Alzner, Jay Beagle, Chris Brown, Andre Burakovsky, John Carlson, Chris Conner, Eric Fehr, Stanislav GalievMike Green, Philipp Grubauer, Jack Hillen, Braden Holtby, Marcus Johansson, Brooks Laich, Michael Latta, Liam O’Brien, Steve Oleksy, Justin Peters, Cameron Schilling, Nate Schmidt, Aaron Volpatti and Tom Wilson.

“We are extremely pleased to extend our affiliation with the Hershey Bears,” said Patrick. “In our view, Hershey is a top franchise in the American Hockey League, and we look forward to our top prospects continuing to develop in a successful and winning culture in Hershey.”

For a ninth consecutive season – all of which came during the current affiliation – the Bears boasted the AHL’s top attendance. 372,070 fans visited Giant Center in 2014-15, an average of 9,791 fans per game. The team also welcomed a new regular-season record crowd of 10,998 on April 18, which saw the Bears host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

The Bears and Capitals were also affiliated from 1977 to 1984, a span which included the Bears’ 1980 Calder Cup championship.