Monsters, Blue Jackets extend affiliation

The Columbus Blue Jackets and Cleveland Monsters have agreed to a long-term, multi-year affiliation extension.

The 2023-24 season marks the ninth season that the Monsters have been the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate since the clubs’ initial partnership was announced in the spring of 2015. During that time, the Monsters captured the 2016 Calder Cup championship, which was the first by a Columbus affiliate and first in Monsters franchise history.

“Giving our young players an opportunity to grow and develop both on and off the ice in a world-class environment like the one they have with the Cleveland Monsters is very special and we couldn’t be prouder and more excited that our partnership will continue for many years to come,” said Blue Jackets director of player personnel and Monsters general manager Chris Clark. “Both organizations share a commitment to succeed at the highest level, while growing the game and having a positive impact in our communities and state and we look forward to continuing that work together.”

Since the start of the affiliation, the Monsters have an overall regular season record of 246-230-44-25 and playoff record of 18-7, including the 2016 Calder Cup title won on home ice in front of 19,665 fans. That game marked the second-largest crowd in franchise history, trailing only the Cleveland Monsters Outdoor Classic, which drew 22,875 at Cleveland Browns Stadium on March 4, 2023.

“We are very excited to continue our partnership with the Columbus Blue Jackets which keeps together this all-important hockey connection in the great state of Ohio for years to come,” said Mike Ostrowski, Rock Entertainment Group’s president of franchise properties. “The working relationship between our two organizations, close proximity of the state’s two largest cities, and access our fans have as they support Blue Jackets and Monsters players makes our affiliation a natural fit and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

The Monsters have led the AHL in attendance in three of the past four seasons, including a league-best average and franchise record of 9,520 fans per game in 2022-23. The team has been multiple-time American Hockey League award winners across various business verticals, including top overall fan experience, group ticket sales growth, corporate partnership team of the year and marketing team of the year. A community leader through their ongoing efforts to grow the game in Northeast Ohio, the Monsters continue to implement many key initiatives, including their certified “Learn to Play” partner programs, year-round on-ice and street hockey clinics, education and wellness programs and region-wide DEI partnerships.