Lightning, Crunch extend affiliation agreement

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The Tampa Bay Lightning and Syracuse Crunch have jointly announced a five-year affiliation extension through the 2022-23 season, with a mutual option for two additional years.

“It is with great pride and excitement that the Syracuse Crunch extend into a long-term affiliation agreement with the Tampa Bay Lightning ,” Crunch owner Howard Dolgon said. “Time and again, the Lightning have proven — from ownership to business and hockey operations, to coaches and players — to be the finest organization in all of sports. We look forward to continuing a long and successful partnership.”

Since the start of the affiliation in 2012, 49 players have appeared with both Syracuse and Tampa Bay. The Crunch have won two division championships and seven postseason series in that time, highlighted by trips to the Calder Cup Finals in 2013 and 2017.

“We are very pleased to be extending our affiliation with the Syracuse Crunch today,” Lightning vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois said. “The Crunch and Howard Dolgon, along with the city of Syracuse, continue to offer our players an excellent development environment, which is of paramount importance to sustained success in today’s NHL. We look forward to continue this great partnership for years to come.”

The Syracuse Crunch will begin their 25th year of operation in 2018-19 and boast the AHL’s longest independent ownership group, led by Dolgon. The Crunch have the fourth-longest current tenure of any American Hockey League team.