The Washington Capitals and the Hershey Bears have extended their affiliation agreement through the 2029-30 season.
Hershey has posted a record of 783-428-72-91 (.629 points percentage) since the current affiliation with Washington began in 2005-06. Last season, the Bears won their AHL-record 12th Calder Cup championship and their fourth during the current partnership (2006, 2009, 2010, 2023). No NHL-AHL pairing has won more Calder Cups in that span.
“The Hershey Bears have played an integral role in the successful development and maturation of players within the Washington Capitals organization for many years, and we are excited to extend our affiliation for the next six seasons and continue our longstanding partnership,” said Capitals president and general manager Brian MacLellan. “Not only have we had players come through Hershey, but several coaches currently on our staff and members of our support staff have plied their trade with the Bears before joining the Capitals.”
Hershey is in its 19th season as Washington’s AHL affiliate under the current agreement. The Bears, the AHL’s oldest and most decorated franchise, currently sit atop the AHL standings with a record of 34-7-0-2.
“The Hershey Bears are thrilled to extend our affiliation agreement with the Washington Capitals,” said Bryan Helmer, Hershey’s vice president of hockey operations. “Our long-standing partnership with the Capitals has established a proven model of success in creating a winning culture and promoting development. We take great pride in seeing players who helped us win in Hershey graduate to Washington. We look forward to continuing this strong partnership for the next six seasons.”
Hershey has qualified for the playoffs in 14 of the last 16 seasons (excluding the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, in which the Calder Cup Playoffs were not held), and has reached the Calder Cup Finals six times since it has been affiliated with Washington under the current agreement, the most finals appearances in that span.
This season, 16 former or current Bears have played for the Capitals under head coach Spencer Carbery, who served as head coach of the Bears for three seasons from 2018 to 2021.
The Capitals and Bears were also previously affiliated for seven seasons from 1977 to 1984, including the Bears’ 1980 Calder Cup championship.