The Blues don’t have an American Hockey League affiliation for the time being, but they now have one with an ECHL club.
The team announced Tuesday it has signed a one-year affiliation agreement with the Tulsa Oilers of the ECHL for the 2017-18 season. The ECHL is a level below the AHL in hockey’s minor league hierarchy.
“We are proud to extend our footprint to Tulsa and partner with the Oilers for the 2017-18 season,” Blues GM Doug Armstrong said in a team press release. “The Oilers are a strong organization from top to bottom and will provide a great opportunity for our young prospects to continue to develop their game.”
The Chicago Wolves, St. Louis’ affiliate in recent years, now is the expansion Vegas Golden Knights’ AHL affiliate, though the Blues will be able to send some players to Chicago this season. The team also can send players to other AHL clubs, including San Antonio, which reportedly will become the Blues’ AHL affiliate in the 2018-19 season. Lower-level Blues prospects will go to Tulsa.
The Oilers are entering their fourth ACHL season. They are coached by Rob Murray, who previously spent six seasons as the head coach of the ECHL’s Alaska Aces. The Aces were affiliated with the Blues for three of Murray’s six seasons in Alaska.
The Blues did not have an ECHL affiliate the last two seasons.
“It is truly an honor for us to affiliate with such a class organization like the St. Louis Blues,” Oilers GM Taylor Hall said in the release. “Our fan base will be thrilled as we have many Blues fans here in Tulsa.”