Iowa, Anaheim announce affiliation agreement

ahl06_200.jpgSchlegel Sports, owner of Iowa’s American Hockey League (AHL) team, announced Tuesday the Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League (NHL) will bring their AHL affiliate to Des Moines starting with the 2008-09 season.

Anaheim had been affiliated with the AHL’s Portland Pirates for the last three seasons. In that time, the Ducks’ top prospects won the Atlantic Division championship in 2006 and reached the Eastern Conference Finals of the Calder Cup Playoffs in both 2006 and 2008. The team will replace the Iowa Stars, who ended their affiliation agreement with the Dallas Stars after the 2007-08 season.

Brian Burke, the Ducks’ executive vice president and general manager, was part of the official announcement made today at an Iowa news conference. Burke has a long history in hockey, and was recently selected by The Hockey News as the NHL’s top General Manager.
“We are thrilled to be affiliating with the Schlegel family in a great hockey market such as Des Moines,” says Burke. “The Ducks are very excited to have an opportunity to work with an ownership and management team that’s as committed to winning as we are.”

The Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007 and have a franchise-record of three consecutive trips to the playoffs since the 2005-06 season. With their extremely physical brand of hockey, they also recorded the most penalty minutes in the league in 2007-08 with 1,465.

“Our goal has always been to grow AHL hockey in the Des Moines community and we look forward to an amazing season,” says Kirby Schlegel, chairman and CEO of Schlegel Sports. “With this change in affiliation there will be some exciting changes for Iowa hockey fans as well. We are also lowering ticket prices to attract more fans supporting AHL hockey in Des Moines. All of these changes mean a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

The new Iowa AHL team will announce their team name, logo and colors in July, and will step onto the ice in October.