Portland, Maine – 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 70-56-7-9 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. The 41 year-old also spent six seasons as a head coach in the ECHL (Huntington and Cincinnati) and CHL (San Angelo and New Mexico) compiling a .554 winning percentage.
“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 (2005-2008), compiled a .563 regular-season winning percentage and made 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.
The affiliation agreement between the Pirates and Coyotes continues a long tradition of professional hockey in the City of Portland. Since the Maine Mariners inaugural season in 1977, over 2,500 games have been played in front of nearly 4 million fans at the American Hockey League level. The AHL is the top development league for the National Hockey League and will be celebrating its 76th season of play in 2011-12. Dating back to the days of the Maine Mariners, the American Hockey League has now played hockey in Portland for over 30 years. Only five other teams (Hershey, Rochester, Providence, Springfield and Cleveland) have had an American Hockey League franchise in their city longer than Portland. The Cumberland County Civic Center, the Pirates home, has hosted four Calder Cup Champions (1978, 1979, 1984 and 1994), the 2003 Dodge AHL All-Star Classic and the 2010 Time Warner Cable All-Star Classic.
Members of the Phoenix Coyotes hockey department, including General Manager Don Maloney and Vice President of Hockey Operations and Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving will be in Portland on July 14th for a special reception hosted by United Insurance being held at 11 a.m. in the Captain’s Club at the Cumberland County Civic Center. The event will be open to the public free of charge.
Follow all the latest news from the Coyotes on portlandpirates.com. NHL Free Agency begins on July 1st and Phoenix will be holding their Development Camp for prospects from July 6-11th at Polar Ice in Peoria, AZ.
See What You’ve Been Missing