The Virginian Pilot reports  the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League announced today they have signed a five-year affiliation deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Pilot reports Tampa Bay executive vice president and general manager Jay Feaster said at the press conference that the Lightning was not happy with the on-ice results at Springfield and vowed to put a winning team in Norfolk.
Norfolk has never missed the AHL playoffs.
Current Springfield head coach Steve Stirling and assistant coach Darren Rumble will remain under contract to the Lightning and will coach the Admirals next season.
Tampa Bay will provide the Admirals with the full roster of players.
In the Lightning's official press release , Feaster said:
â€œWe are very excited by the opportunity to partner with such an outstanding organization as Norfolk and such a committed owner in Ken Young. Throughout our discussions and negotiations Kenâ€™s passion for and commitment to his team, the organization and the wonderful fans of the Admirals has been abundantly evident and we look forward to working with him for a very long time.
â€œWhile the development of players has always been important to the Lightning organization, the need to develop players is even more critical as a result of the NHLâ€™s new collective bargaining agreement. We are committed to the ongoing development of our players and we remain convinced that our players will develop faster and more completely in a winning organization.â€
Young added the following:
â€œI could not be happier to have the Admirals affiliated with the Tampa Bay Lightning. We are thrilled to be able to partner with such a successful and first-class organization for the next several years. Personally, I have watched the Lightning from their inception and through winning the Stanley Cup. I am confident that our fans in Hampton Roads will continue to see winning hockey at the highest level.â€
For more information on Young and the affiliation history of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Hampton Roads, Virginia, see tampabaylightning.com .