Grizzlies Announce Affiliation With Islanders

Grizzlies Announce Affiliation With Islanders

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West Valley City, Utah - Utah Grizzlies Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Jason Christie announced today at a press conference that the team has signed an affiliation agreement with the NHL's New York Islanders. Utah will also serve as an affiliate for the Islanders' AHL team in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

"The Utah Grizzlies are one of the top organizations in minor pro hockey," said Islanders General Manager Garth Snow. "The Islanders and Grizzlies have made a great pair in the past and I'm sure we will be again. The Utah community is outstanding and the facilities are top-tier. We're looking forward to working with Jason Christie and the rest of his staff."

"We are excited to team up with a first-class organization in the Islanders as well as their American Hockey League affiliate the Bridgeport Sound Tigers," said Christie. "It will be beneficial to our organization to once again have an affiliation. We will look to develop players for the next level in a winning environment."

The Islanders finished this past season 40-30-12 as they qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fourth time in five years.

"GM Garth Snow made some key acquisitions this past season to get New York back to the playoffs," said Christie. "The organization is committed to developing top notch players through their minor league system as well."

The Grizzlies have been unaffiliated since joining the ECHL in 2005. Previously, in the AHL, Utah served as an affiliate for the Phoenix Coyotes (2004-2005) and the Dallas Stars (2000-2004).

"Having a strong ECHL affiliate is imperative to building the Islanders future. We believe the Utah Grizzlies provide the necessary resources to develop our prospects," Sound Tigers President Howard Saffan said. "The Grizzlies are a very well respected organization that will provide the stepping stone towards the ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup."

This will mark the second time that the Grizzlies have been affiliated with the Islanders. Utah qualified for the playoffs four times, won two IHL Turner Cup Championships and had an overall record of 196-107-24 for a .636 winning percentage from 1994-1998 during four seasons as an Islanders affiliate.

"Our organization experienced some great times as an Islanders affiliate," said Grizzlies CEO Kevin Bruder. "As we explored our options following this past season, it became quickly obvious that New York was the team we wanted to move forward with as we enter our third ECHL season."

As an Islanders affiliate, the Grizzlies had 44 total players who also donned a New York sweater during their career. Players of note who played for the Grizzlies and the Islanders include: Todd Bertuzzi, Claude Lapointe, Jamie McLennan, Vladimir Orszagh, Zigmund Palffy, and Olympic goaltender Tommy Salo.

The Grizzlies open the 2007-2008 season Friday, October 19 when they visit the Phoenix RoadRunners at US Airways Center in Downtown Phoenix. The home opener for the Grizzlies is Friday, October 26 when they welcome Idaho to the E-Center.

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