Predators renew affiliation with Milwaukee

Nashville Predators president of hockey operations/general manager David Poile and Milwaukee Admirals governor/CEO Harris Turer jointly announced on Monday that the Admirals will continue to serve as the top developmental affiliate for the Predators through the 2011-12 season, with a mutual option for the 2012-13 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, [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 12th season with Nashville, the third-longest affiliation agreement in the AHL, the Admirals are 487-324-31-102 (.586) while serving as the Predators’ top development club. The affiliation has been particularly fruitful over the course of the last seven seasons. In that time the Admirals have posted a 308-165-7-58 record (.633) and with eight more wins and 20 more points this year can become the first team in AHL history to post 40 or more wins and 90 or more points in seven consecutive seasons.

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 before falling to the Hershey Bears in six games. The Admirals have also captured the West Division title on three occasions, including last year, and have accumulated at least 100 points in four of the past six seasons.

“We as an organization have always told our players that 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 six years, including a championship in 2004 and last season they finished the regular season tied for the most points in the American Hockey League. With a bright and trusted coach in Lane Lambert, the Milwaukee ownership group led by Harris Turer and Jon Greenberg’s front-office staff, this is the kind of environment we love having our players in.”

Since the Predators-Admirals relationship began in the 1998-99 season, 104 players have suited up for both squads including current Preds Martin Erat, Dan Hamhuis, Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Jordin Tootoo, Kevin Klein, Jerred Smithson and Pekka Rinne. Nashville currently has 13 players on their roster that have donned an Admirals sweater and Predators assistant coach Peter Horachek was the bench boss in Milwaukee during the 2002-03 campaign.

Already this season the Admirals have had 13 players recalled to Nashville, including five players, Andreas Thuresson, Nick Spaling, Teemu Laakso, Colin Wilson, and Cody Franson, who made their NHL debuts this year. In addition, the Ads currently have ten players that were drafted by or signed their first professional contract with the Predators. Ten out of the 12 players that have been drafted by the Predators in the first round have played for Milwaukee, including current Admirals Wilson, Jon Blum, and Chet Pickard.

“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.

Milwaukee is currently in third place in the AHL’s West Division with a record of 32-20-1-5 and 70 points. The Admirals have been Nashville’s primary developmental affiliate since the Predators’ inaugural NHL season in 1998-99.