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Steelheads, Dallas Stars Sign Two-Year Affiliation Extension

BOISE, Idaho – The Idaho Steelheads, in conjunction with the Dallas Stars (NHL) and Texas Stars (AHL), have announced on Thursday the signing a two-year affiliation agreement extension, continuing one of the longest partnerships between a National Hockey League (NHL) and ECHL club through the 2022-23 season.

The Steelheads have served as the ECHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars since the 2005-06 as well as during the 2003-04 season. Since their partnership began, the Steelheads have won two Kelly Cup Championships (2004, 2007) and played in three Kelly Cup Finals (2004, 2007, 2010) while continuing their playoff appearance streak through every season. The Steelheads’ and Stars’ partnership is the third-longest current continuous affiliation in the ECHL.

11 former Steelheads have played with the Stars: goaltenders Richard Bachman (’09-’10), Landon Bow (’16-’17), Matt Climie (’08-09), and Dan Ellis (’03-’04); and forwards B.J. Crombeen (’05-’07), Justin Dowling (’12-’13), Aaron Gagnon (’07-’08), Gavin Morgan (’99-’00), Tom Wandell (’07-’08), Francis Wathier (’06-’07), and Gemel Smith (’15-’16).

Additionally, two former head coaches have moved up the Dallas Stars organization. Derek Laxdal (’05-’10) served as the Head Coach for the Texas Stars, the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate for Dallas for six seasons before being promoted to his current position as Assistant Coach in Dallas during the 2019-20 season. Neil Graham (’12-’19) was appointed Head Coach of the Texas Stars during the 2019-20 season, where he enters his third season.

"We are pleased to renew our affiliation with the Steelheads for the next two seasons," said Dallas Stars Assistant General Manager and Texas Stars General Manager Scott White. “As evidenced by their continued success, the Steelheads organization, under the guidance of Head Coach Everett Sheen, is committed to fostering the development of its players, and we couldn’t be happier to extend our long-standing partnership with them.”

The Stars are preparing for their 28th season in Dallas and third season under Head Coach Rick Bowness.

During the 2019-20 season, four players under NHL contracts skated with the Steelheads: forwards Tony Calderone and Tye Felhaber, defenseman Ondrej Vala, and goaltender Colton Point. Former NHL-contracted player Landon Bow sits near the top of the Steelheads ECHL record books, ranking second in career save percentage (.933) and third in career goals-against average (2.08). The Stars previously hosted their 2018 Training Camp at Idaho Central Arena in Boise, bringing the entire team to the Treasure Valley for a three-day practice and scrimmage session.

“We’re very pleased to renew our long-standing affiliation with the Dallas Stars and Texas Stars,” said Steelheads Head Coach & Director of Hockey Operations Everett Sheen. “We have had tremendous success developing both players and coaches during our time working together. We look forward to continuing this productive partnership to push their player development and promote our players to the next level.”

The Texas Stars will continue as Dallas’ top development affiliate in the AHL. During the 2019-20 season, nine different players dressed for both the Steelheads and AHL Stars, marking a total of 17 varying players over the past two seasons of play during the last affiliation extension. Texas is led by Neil Graham, former Steelheads Head Coach, who led Idaho to three-straight 40-win seasons before his promotion to the AHL.

The Steelheads are back for the 2021-22 season! Season tickets and flex plans are available ahead of the Home Opener on Friday, Oct. 22 against the Utah Grizzlies at Idaho Central Arena. Call the Steelheads Front Office at 208-383-0080 to plan your seats for the return of hockey to Downtown Boise! Stay connected to the Steelheads all summer long on or by following the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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