Pirates, Coyotes partner up; Edwards to coach

The Portland Pirates announced today that they have reached a multi-year affiliation agreement with the Phoenix Coyotes to begin with the 2011-12 season. The announcement was made by Pirates Managing Owner/CEO Brian Petrovek at a press conference at the Civic Center this afternoon.

“We are looking forward, with a great deal of excitement and optimism, to our new affiliation with the Phoenix Coyotes,” Petrovek said. “When Don Maloney, Brad Treliving and I began our discussions about a relationship months ago, it was clear to me from the start that our objectives and philosophies matched and that the Coyotes would deliver to our fans an entertaining, consistent and competitive team with players and coaches of strong character and work ethic in a winning environment. Furthermore, their genuine desire to be in Portland for the long term far exceeded any other team we considered, which I know our fans will appreciate from this day forward.”

Before teaming up with the Pirates, the Coyotes were affiliated with the San Antonio Rampage and have been operating under the direction of current Phoenix general manager Don Maloney and assistant general manager Brad Treliving (who will serve as the Pirates General Manager) for the past four seasons. During that span, San Antonio had a record of 154-131-14-21 in 320 regular season games (.536 winning percentage). The Rampage’s most successful season as a Coyotes affiliate was in 2007-08 when they posted a franchise-record 42 wins.

“We are very pleased to announce our new AHL affiliation with the Portland Pirates,” said Maloney. “Brian Petrovek and the Pirates are a well-run, first class organization with a great history of success and we are looking forward to a strong and long-lasting partnership.”

“We are very excited about our new partnership with Brian Petrovek and the Pirates,” Treliving said. “We look forward to providing fans with a talented, hard-working and competitive team that will play an exciting brand of hockey.”

As part of the affiliation announcement, the Coyotes also announced that Ray Edwards will become the seventh head coach in Pirates franchise history. The Wasaga Beach, Ontario, Canada native sports a career AHL coaching record of 70-63-9 in two seasons with the Rampage.

He joined San Antonio as an assistant coach prior to the 2007-08 season, helping the Rampage to a .525 winning percentage during three-plus seasons in that role. Edwards was named head coach of the Rampage early in the 2009-10 season.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to coach the Pirates,” said Edwards. “Portland is a great hockey city with passionate fans. We will work tirelessly to ice a team that Pirates fans will be proud of and enjoy watching for years to come.”

Phoenix becomes the fourth NHL affiliate in Pirates history. The Pirates were affiliated with the Buffalo Sabres for the past three seasons (2008-2011) and posted a 131-79-17-13 record. From 2005-2008 Portland was affiliated with the Anaheim Ducks, compiling a .563 regular-season winning percentage and making two Eastern Conference Finals appearances, losing in Game 7 in both the 2005-06 and 2007-08 seasons. The first 12 seasons of Pirates hockey were played under an affiliation with the Washington Capitals.