In another major step forward since their arrival as a debuting member club of the ECHL in the league's 25th Anniversary Season, the Evansville IceMen continue to solidify their continued prominent presence and ascent in the pro hockey world.
On this date, the IceMen have announced that they have signed an agreement whereby Evansville adds a second NHL affiliation through a player development partnership with the St. Louis Blues. Through this agreement, the IceMen will become a significant part of a working relationship with the Blues based on overall player development with access to some outstanding young players being seasoned to become future members of the Blues and AHL affiliate, Peoria Rivermen.
The IceMen General Manager/Head Coach Rich Kromm is thrilled to have his club working with the Blues while also gaining the distinction of enjoying the association and company of having two NHL affiliates for Evansville's maiden voyage campaign in the ECHL. "We're happy to be able to establish this relationship with the St. Louis Blues and Peoria Rivermen by entering into this affiliation agreement. We were presented this opportunity with the Blues and it seemed a natural fit for our club, our fans and our community; especially considering that St. Louis and Peoria are so close to us geographically. The Blues have always been a strong organization with an outstanding history. The IceMen are delighted to now have two excellent working partnerships with Columbus and now St. Louis."
St. Louis Blues Assistant General Manager Kevin MacDonald echoed the sentiments of GM/Coach Kromm with today's affiliation announcement. "We are very excited to begin a new relationship with Evansville as they join the ECHL. They have a first class facility and we are thrilled to have our prospects be coached by someone who played in the NHL and has such an established coaching career. This is a great opportunity to have our players in close proximity to both the NHL and American League cities where we can monitor their progress on a consistent basis."
Through this newly-formed Evansville/St. Louis connection, the IceMen take their place as the Premier AA member of the Blues' system which also includes the Peoria Rivermen of the AAA American Hockey league (AHL).