Milwaukee, Nashville extend affiliation

Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile and Milwaukee Admirals Governor/CEO Harris Turer jointly announced today that the Admirals will continue to serve as the Predators’ top developmental affiliate through the 2013-14 season with a mutual option for the 2014-15 campaign.

Per conditions of the agreement, the Admirals will continue to receive their roster from the Predators.

“We are extremely pleased to extend our affiliation with the Predators,” said Turer. “David Poile, and [Nashville Assistant General Manager and Milwaukee General Manager] Paul Fenton and their staff are committed to developing players by creating a winning tradition in Milwaukee, as evidenced by the success we have had in our relationship with Nashville. We look forward to continuing the winning tradition and bringing another Calder Cup to Milwaukee.”

Currently in their 14th season with Nashville the Admirals are 565-377-153 (W-L-T/OTP), good for an impressive .588 winning percentage, while serving as the Predators’ top farm club. The affiliation has been particularly fruitful over the course of the last eight-plus seasons. In that time the Admirals have posted a 386-218-85 record (.622) and they are the only team in American Hockey League history to have eight consecutive seasons of 40 or more wins and 90 or more points.

In 2003-04 the Admirals captured their first professional title when they won the Calder Cup championship, and the team returned to the Calder Cup Finals in the 2005-06 season. The Admirals have also captured the West Division title on four occasions, including last year, and have accumulated at least 100 points in five of the past eight seasons.

“Our organization has been philosophically committed to an affiliation in which the road to Nashville goes through Milwaukee,” Poile said. “Our current roster supports this philosophy. The Milwaukee Admirals have cultivated a winning tradition, as evidenced by their nine consecutive trips to the playoffs – including a Calder Cup championship in 2004 and another appearance in the Calder Cup Finals in 2006. Led by Harris Turer, the Milwaukee ownership group has assembled a bright and dedicated staff headed by President Jon Greenberg, that has created a major league environment for our prospects.”

The Admirals have been the Preds’ primary developmental affiliate since Nashville’s inception in 1998-99, and more than 120 players have played at least one game for both teams. Additionally, Predators associate coach Peter Horachek served as the head coach of the Admirals in 2002-03 and Predators first-year assistant Lane Lambert was the bench boss in Milwaukee for four seasons from 2007-11.

This season alone 11 players have skated in at least one game for both Nashville and Milwaukee, including forwards Chris Mueller, Kyle Wilson, Ryan Thang, Gabriel Bourque, Zack Stortini and Blake Geoffrion; defensemen Ryan Ellis, Teemu Laakso, Jonathon Blum and Roman Josi; and goaltender Anders Lindback.

Nearly all of Nashville’s core players spent time with the Admirals: three-time All-Star, 2011 Norris Trophy runner-up and Predators captain Shea Weber started his pro career with Milwaukee in 2005-06; 2012 All-Star defenseman Ryan Suter played the 2004-05 season with the Admirals; and 2011 Vezina Trophy runner-up Pekka Rinne spent his first three seasons in North America with the Ads from 2005-08. Other Nashville Predators that spent time developing in Milwaukee include forwards Martin Erat, Patric Hornqvist, Jerred Smithson, Jordin Tootoo, Nick Spaling, Matt Halischuk and Colin Wilson and defenseman Kevin Klein.

The Nashville-Milwaukee relationship is the third longest current continuous relationship in the AHL, behind Boston-Providence (1992) and New York Rangers-Connecticut (1997).