The following is a press release from the Predators…
Nashville, Tenn. (June 18, 2013) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has renewed its affiliation with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones. The Cyclones have served as Nashville’s secondary developmental affiliate since the 2007-08 season, winning a pair of Kelly Cup titles (2008 and 2010). In 2012-13, the Cyclones won their third North Division title (2008, 2009, 2013), made their fourth conference finals appearance (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013) and advanced to the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the sixth consecutive time since partnering with the Predators.
The Cyclones will function as a developmental affiliate for both Nashville, and its primary developmental affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League. Cincinnati plays its home games at the 14,453-seat U.S. Bank Arena, located downtown next to the Cincinnati Reds’ Great American Ball Park.
“We look forward to continuing to work with such a class organization that creates a winning environment for our players to develop,” Predators Assistant General Manager Paul Fenton said. “Led by Jarrod Skalde, the Cyclones have been a model of consistency the past six seasons and have been critical to the success of the Milwaukee Admirals and the Nashville Predators.”
In 2012-13, the Cyclones finished with the Eastern Conference’s second-best record, going 42-22-8 to claim the North Division title under the guidance of Jarrod Skalde, the recipient of the 2013 John Brophy Trophy as the ECHL’s coach of the year. Forward Josh Shalla, a fourth-round selection of the Predators in the 2011 Entry Draft, represented Cincinnati at the 2013 ECHL All-Star Game, while Nashville Prospects Magnus Hellberg (second round, 2011), Taylor Aronson (third round, 2010), Anthony Bitetto (sixth round, 2010), Charles-Olivier Roussel (second round, 2009) and Jack Maclellan (free agent) all spent time with the Cyclones as well.
Four ECHL graduates – Victor Bartley, Rich Clune, Kevin Henderson and Chris Mueller – suited up for the Predators in 2012-13, with both Henderson (2011-12) and Mueller (2010-11) being Cyclones alumni.
Founded in 1990 as an ECHL franchise, the Cyclones competed in the International Hockey League (IHL) from 1992-2001. The Cyclones went 23-17-4 (.568 winning percentage) in games versus Milwaukee during that nine-year stretch. After the IHL ceased operations in 2001, the Cyclones returned to the ECHL for three more seasons.
After two seasons of inactivity – including one without professional hockey in Cincinnati – the Cyclones rejoined the ECHL in time for 2006-07, and quickly captured two Kelly Cup championships (2008 and 2010), two North Division titles (2008 and 2009), a Brabham Cup (league’s best record) and made three consecutive trips to the American Conference Finals (2008, 2009 and 2010).
Skalde’s award-winning 2012-13 campaign was his third at the Cyclones’ helm. The Niagara Falls, Ont., native has more than 20 years of service in professional hockey, 17 as a player in the NHL, IHL, AHL and overseas, and as a head coach since 2008.
The ECHL is the leading professional developmental league for the American Hockey League and the National Hockey League. The league began in 1988-89 with five teams in three states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast circuit that saw 23 teams playing in 15 states in 2012-13, its 26th season. There have been more than 500 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL.