The Boston Bruins announced a new affiliation with the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL (premier AA league) on Thursday, marking the team’s third affiliation with an ECHL team in organization history. The deal for this upcoming season will allow Boston to designate players to the Gladiators for development, which is positive for both sides.
“The Boston Bruins and Providence Bruins are very excited to be forging a new development affiliation with the Gladiators,”said Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, per the Gladiators’ press release. “Working with a proud franchise and being a part of the passionate fans in the Duluth community will provide a tremendous opportunity for our young players to continue to grow and help them to reach their full potential as professional hockey players.”
The Gladiators finished last in the Eastern Division of the ECHL last year, with a 20-45-3 record. However, the two sides felt that they had a lot of similarities in the way they develop players, and thus, a partnership was born.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) August 6, 2015
“Throughout the summer our conversations with the Bruins organization have been positive,” said Andy Brandt, Gladiators Head Coach and Manager of Hockey Operations. “As we began to discuss the topics that are involved in a partnership, it became clear that we have a lot of similarities. Their thoughts on things like the importance of developing players and the importance of communication between the organizations are what drove our decision to affiliate with Boston.”
“We’ll be working together to recruit and sign the right players, so as hard as it is to forecast what we’ll receive from Boston at this point, I know quality prospects will be assigned to the Gladiators. The chance to work with and develop those incoming players is something I’m very much looking forward to.”
Boston is the sixth team to affiliate with the Gladiators in their history. Previous NHL affiliations include the Atlanta Thrashers, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Buffalo Sabres and the Arizona Coyotes. However, Gwinnett’s affiliation with the Bruins may be their most anticipated affiliation to date.
“We are very excited to be affiliated with the Boston organization and look forward to working under their umbrella,” said Brandt. “To be able to align ourselves with such a historical and successful team, not to mention a member of ‘The Original Six’, is something we are very proud of and take very seriously.”
If things go well for each side, the partnership could be great news for both teams. Gwinnett will benefit by bringing in some strong players from Boston’s organization, which will help them pull out from the bottom of their division. As for Boston, the Bruins will benefit by having another place to assign players who need further development.
Cam is a Broadcast Journalism student at the University of Maryland. He’s the Boston Bruins Beat Writer at The Hockey Writers, and is an avid college hockey fan. Find him on Twitter @CamHasbrouck!