TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning have renewed their affiliation agreement with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL today, assistant general manager Julien BriseBois announced. Florida will continue to serve as the Lightningâ€™s primary ECHL affiliate and they will provide the Everblades with players under both NHL and AHL contracts.
â€œWe are very happy to continue our partnership with the Florida Everblades,â€ BriseBois said. â€œThe Everblades and their management have a strong track record of providing a winning environment for our prospects to develop in and we look forward to helping them win another Kelly Cup."
Based in Estero, Florida, the Everblades were founded in 1998 and already have an impressive resume of accomplishments. The Everblades won their franchiseâ€™s first ECHL championship, the Kelly Cup, in 2012 and posted a regular season record of 39-26-2-5. They set a franchise record last season with 280 goals scored during the regular season.
They have made 13 consecutive playoff appearances since joining the ECHL, becoming the first team in ECHL history to make back-to-back Kelly Cup Finals appearances in 2003-04 and 2004-05. They were awarded the Brabham Cup, given annually to the ECHL team with the best record, following the 1998-99 and 2008-09 seasons. Since entering the league, they have played 1,003 regular season games and have hosted 3,071,545 fans, an average of 6,125 per contest. The Everblades played their 1,000th game on March 24, 2012. The teamâ€™s colors are navy blue, white and green.
The Everblades play at Germain Arena in Estero. The building was built in 1998 and has a capacity of 7,180 for hockey games. The building has hosted more than 300 different entertainment events, including the 2003 Compuware/ECHL All-Star Game. The team has also led the ECHL playoffs in attendance in seven of its 14 seasons in the league.
Tampa Bay previously had secondary affiliations with Augusta, Mississippi, Pensacola, Johnstown, Toledo, Chesapeake, Nashville and Knoxville of the ECHL. The Lightning announced last week that the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League will be the clubâ€™s top minor league affiliate beginning in 2012-13