Falcons announce new affiliation, lease

The Springfield Falcons, proud members of the American Hockey League, announced today they have signed a one-year affiliation agreement with a one-year option with the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets. The new partnership will see the Blue Jackets’ top prospects playing in Springfield for the 2010-11 campaign.

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

“We are excited about this new agreement with Columbus,” said Falcons President and General Manager Bruce Landon. “They are excited about a number of the young prospects they currently have under contract and others that they hope to sign over the next few months. In addition, they believe in adding the right number of veterans to provide leadership and help create a winning environment.”

The Blue Jackets feature four-time NHL All-Star Rick Nash and 2009 NHL Rookie of the Year goaltender Steve Mason. Nash was also the 2004 winner of the Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard Award given annually to the NHL’s leading goal scorer during the regular season. Nash also recently won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

“The Blue Jackets organization is proud to have the Springfield Falcons as our top affiliate beginning in 2010-11 and joining a market that has been a part of the AHL’s rich tradition for many years,” said Blue Jackets Assistant General Manager Chris MacFarland, who will oversee the club’s hockey operations for the Blue Jackets. “We are looking forward to having our young players continue to develop and putting a premier product on the ice for the fans in Springfield.”

The Falcons have also announced they have signed a one-year extension of their lease with the MCCA for 40 regular-season home games at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield.

“As I stated back in December, in addition to finding a new NHL partner, we also had to sign a new lease with the MCCA,” said Landon. “I am also pleased to announce today that we have signed an extension to our lease to continue to play in the MassMutual Center for the 2010-11 season. I personally would like to thank Jim Rooney, Executive Director of the MCCA and Ken Sinkiewicz, Deputy Director for their efforts in making this possible.”