Norfolk, Tampa Bay to team up

nor-tb_200.jpgNorfolk Admirals president Ken Young announced today that the Admirals have entered into a multi-year affiliation agreement with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League.

The Admirals will serve as the Lightning’s primary development affiliate starting with the 2007-08 season.

Young, Admirals vice president Mark Bernard, Lightning executive vice president and general manager Jay Feaster and Lightning assistant general manager Claude Loiselle made the announcement at a 2 p.m. news conference today at the Norfolk Scope Arena.

The Lightning organization will provide the Admirals with the full roster of players, and current Springfield Falcons head coach Steve Stirling and assistant coach Darren Rumble remain under contract to the Lightning organization and will take over the coaching duties in Norfolk next season.

“I could not be happier to have the Admirals affiliated with the Tampa Bay Lightning,” said Young. “We are thrilled to be able to partner with such a successful and first-class organization for the next several years. Personally, I have watched the Lightning from their inception and through winning the Stanley Cup. I am confident that our fans in Hampton Roads will continue to see winning hockey at the highest level.”

“We are very excited by the opportunity to partner with such an outstanding organization as Norfolk and such a committed owner in Ken Young,” Feaster said. “Throughout our discussions and negotiations Ken’s passion for and commitment to his team, the organization and the wonderful fans of the Admirals has been abundantly evident and we look forward to working with him for a very long time.”

The Norfolk Admirals entered the AHL in 2000-01 and have been the top development team of the Chicago Blackhawks for seven seasons, winning two division titles. This season, the Admirals are making a run at the East Division title and have already clinched a spot in the 2007 Calder Cup Playoffs.