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Falcons, Oilers announce affiliation agreement

spr-edm_200.jpgThe Springfield Falcons, proud members of the American Hockey League, announced today they have signed a three-year affiliation agreement with the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers.

The new partnership will see the Oilers top prospects playing in Springfield for the next three seasons starting during the 2007-08 campaign.

“We are very excited about our new affiliation agreement with the Edmonton Oilers,” said Falcons president and general manager Bruce Landon. “We look forward to providing their prospects with the best environment possible to develop their skills as they prepare for a career in the National Hockey League. Edmonton is one of the premier franchises in the NHL and we are thrilled that they have selected Springfield to be their American Hockey League affiliate.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the Oilers will be responsible for the management of all hockey operations of the Falcons, including the hiring of Springfield’s coaching staff for next season.

“We are pleased to once again have our own primary affiliate in the American Hockey League,” said Edmonton Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe. “The AHL has proven itself as the top development league in the world, and it is important to the success of the Oilers to have our own affiliate in a competitive league where our young players can develop their skills for the NHL.

"There are a number of reasons we are pleased to have concluded this new American Hockey League affiliation. Springfield has a long and storied hockey history and I always think keen fans in hockey environments are positives when players are in the development system. Springfield has a number of travel advantages which mean our young players will receive more practice and coaching time between games which is important, and of course, having a primary affiliate team in the AHL is a situation we have been anxious to have for some time now and the Springfield agreement is ideal."

The Oilers are one of the most storied franchises in the NHL winners of five Stanley Cup Championships, including back-to-back titles in 1984 and 1985 and again in 1987 and 1988. Edmonton won their fifth championship in a seven-year span in 1990.

The city of Springfield, Mass., has a dynamic hockey history that dates back 80 years, beginning with the Springfield Indians. One of the first professional hockey teams in the United States, the Indians were an inaugural member of the Canadian-American Hockey League and helped form the American Hockey League, where Springfield won seven Calder Cups, including a record three in a row from 1960-62.