ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals and the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL) have extended their affiliation agreement through the 2014-15 season, Capitals president Dick Patrick and Hershey president and general manager Doug Yingst announced today.
The Bears, one of the AHL’s elite franchises, recently completed their ninth season as Washington’s AHL affiliate under the current agreement. Hershey has qualified for the playoffs in eight of the last nine seasons and won the Calder Cup in back-to-back seasons as the champions of the AHL in 2009 and 2010 as well as in 2006. Hershey has reached the Calder Cup final in four of the nine seasons it has been affiliated with Washington under the current agreement.
“We are excited to extend our affiliation with the Hershey Bears,” said Patrick. “The Bears are a great franchise and we look forward to working together again to develop our prospects in Hershey.”
Seventeen players skated for both Washington and Hershey during the 2013-14 season: Julien Brouillette, Chris Brown, Connor Carrick, Nicolas Deschamps, Philipp Grubauer, Jack Hillen, Michael Latta, Peter LeBlanc, Michal Neuvirth, Steven Oleksy, Dmitry Orlov, Cameron Schilling, Nate Schmidt, Ryan Stoa, Tyson Strachan, Casey Wellman and Patrick Wey.
“The success of the Hershey Bears as the AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals has been unmatched for nearly a decade,” Yingst said. “The affiliation makes perfect sense geographically and logistically, and we are excited to work together again to produce two quality teams for our fans.”
The Bears visited Verizon Center in each of the last two seasons for a regular-season AHL game. The Bears played the Syracuse Crunch on February 23, 2014, and the Norfolk Admirals on December 6, 2012.
For the eighth consecutive season, the Hershey Bears boasted the AHL’s top attendance with 367,238 fans visiting the GIANT Center in 2013-14, an average of 9,664 fans per game. The team also welcomed a new regular-season record crowd of 10,995 on March 15 when the Bears hosted the Adirondack Phantoms. Giant Center seats 10,500 for hockey and is located less than 140 miles from Verizon Center.
The Capitals and Bears were previously affiliated for seven seasons from 1977 to 1984, including the Bears’ 1980 Calder Cup championship.