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Crunch, Ducks announce affiliation

The Syracuse Crunch announced today a multi-year affiliation agreement with the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks, effective with the 2010-11 season.

"This is an honor and thrill for our organization, to partner with the Anaheim Ducks — one of the truly elite franchises in the National Hockey League," said Crunch President and CEO Howard Dolgon. "They are a team with a proven winning track record on both the NHL and AHL levels and have highly experienced and very well respected hockey people running their operation. We look forward to a long and successful relationship and can’t wait to get started."

“We are thrilled to be affiliating with the Syracuse Crunch in such a great hockey market,” said Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray. “Syracuse is steeped in hockey tradition and we are excited to partner with an ownership and management team that shares the same commitment to winning and player development as we do."

“The Syracuse Crunch franchise has passionate ownership and a very strong management team, and the Anaheim Ducks have an excellent competitive history and proven track record of player development in the American Hockey League,” said Dave Andrews, AHL President and CEO. “This partnership should prove to be successful for everyone involved.”

Since the 2005-06 season Anaheim’s AHL affiliates have posted a record of 168-109-17-26, good for a .620 winning percentage. In addition, since the start of the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs, the Ducks’ AHL affiliates have advanced to the Conference Finals twice.

An impressive list of players have graduated from Anaheim’s AHL affiliates over the past five years to make their NHL debuts with the Ducks, including Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, Ryan Carter, Matt Beleskey, Troy Bodie, Brett Festerling, Dustin Penner, Drew Miller, Andrew Ebbett, Shane O’Brien, Curtis Glencross, Kent Huskins, Zenon Konopka, Ryan Shannon and Aaron Rome.

The Syracuse Crunch are currently in their 16th year of operation in the American Hockey League and are tied for the sixth longest tenure of any AHL team. In addition, Crunch have the AHL’s longest current independent ownership group.

Anaheim represents the third primary affiliate in the Crunch’s history (Vancouver 1994-2000 and Columbus 2000-2009). Syracuse had a split affiliation with Vancouver and Pittsburgh during the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons. The Crunch have qualified for the Calder Cup Playoffs in nine of their first 15 seasons.

Notable current and former NHL players that have donned a Crunch jersey over the years include Adrian Aucoin, Andy Delmore, Pascal Leclaire, Michael Peca, Jamie Pushor, Michal Rozsival and Brent Sopel. In addition, former Crunch players Francois Beauchemin, Mark Hartigan, Joe Motzko and Aaron Rome were part of the Ducks’ 2007 Stanley Cup Championship.

The Crunch hosted the Mirabito Outdoor Classic, the AHL’s first-ever outdoor game, setting a league single-game attendance record of 21,508 at the New York State Fairgrounds on February 20, 2010.