Nashville, Milwaukee extend affiliation

nsh-mil_250.jpgNashville Predators executive vice president/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 development affiliate through the 2009-10 season.

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

“We are extremely pleased to extend our affiliation with a first-class organization like the Predators,” said Turer. “David Poile, [assistant general manager] Paul Fenton, [director of hockey operations] Michael Santos 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.”

Currently in their ninth season with Nashville, the Admirals are 347-247-48-65 (.571) while serving as the Predators’ top farm club. The affiliation has been particularly fruitful over the course of the last three-plus seasons. In that time the Admirals have posted a 168-88-20-18 record (.636) and became just the third team in AHL history to post more than 100 points in three consecutive seasons. In 2003-04 the Admirals captured their first professional title when they won the Calder Cup championship, while Ads head coach Claude Noel was selected as the winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the AHL’s coach of the year.

The team returned to the Calder Cup Finals last season before falling to the Hershey Bears in six games.

“I like to say that for our players, the road to Nashville runs through Milwaukee and a look at our roster illustrates this,” said Poile. “The Milwaukee Admirals have cultivated a winning tradition, earning two trips to the AHL Calder Cup Finals in the last three years and a championship in 2004. With the stable and trusted leadership of head coach Claude Noel, the Milwaukee ownership group led by Harris Turer and Jon Greenberg’s front-office staff, this is the kind of environment that we want our prospects to develop in.”

Since the Predators-Admirals relationship began in the 1998-99 season, 82 players have suited up for both squads including current Preds Chris Mason, Dan Hamhuis, Kimmo Timmonen, Ryan Suter, Jordin Tootoo, Vern Fiddler, Greg Zanon and Scottie Upshall.

Nashville, which leads the NHL with 81 points, currently has 15 players on its roster that have donned an Admirals sweater. Also, Predators assistant coach Peter Horachek was the bench boss in Milwaukee during the 2002-03 campaign.

Players currently on the Admirals roster who have spent time in Nashville this season include Pekka Rinne, Karl Goehring, Sheldon Brookbank, Pat Leahy, Mikko Lehtonen and Kevin Klein. In addition, the Ads currently have nine players that were drafted by or signed their first professional contract with the Predators.

Seven of the nine players that have been Nashville’s first overall pick have played in Milwaukee, including Alexander Radulov and Shea Weber, both of whom were selected to play in the NHL’s YoungStars game this year.

“With the Milwaukee organization working together with our own, led by Paul Fenton and Michael Santos, this has been and will continue to be a partnership that rewards both teams, and most importantly, the hockey fans in both cities,” noted Poile.

The Admirals are currently in third place in the American Hockey League’s West Division with a 26-19-4-6 record. Nashville prospects Brookbank and Ville Koistinen recently participated in the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic, while center Rich Peverley is currently seventh in the AHL’s scoring race with 58 points.