WICHITA, Kan. – In dancing as in hockey, when you have found a good partner, you stick with them till the music runs out. Today, in what appeared to be a foregone conclusion at the end of last season, the Edmonton Oilers and Wichita Thunder have announced a multi-year extension to their player development affiliation.
Under the affiliation agreement, the Oilers will be able to designate players within their development system for assignment with the Thunder. The club will also be composed of players who are signed to NHL and AHL contracts in addition to those on ECHL contracts (under agreement with the Thunder).
“They’re really good to work with, Bill Scott (Director of Salary Cap Management and Assistant to the President of Hockey Operations for the Edmonton Oilers) and Sylvain Rodrigue (Edmonton goalie coach) come down here all the time,” said Thunder general manager Joel Lomurno. “They communicate with us and try to help us as best they can with players. I think there are some affiliations some NHL teams have that use it to throw a couple of guys that they don’t have another place to put them. I don’t think that’s the case with us. They (Edmonton) try to give us the best possible players they can.”
“We’re excited about the future and where things are going,” Scott said in a RECENT INTERVIEW WITH THE SIN BIN. “We’ve made a commitment to the Thunder to make their team better as well because when the Thunder are better, that means our depth in Bakersfield is better and for the NHL club, too. We’re all pulling in the same direction and looking to go forward together.”
This will be the fourth year that the Thunder are affiliated with the Oilers and the Condors. Led by Head Coach Bruce Ramsay, Wichita is looking to get back to the playoffs after having the season canceled to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m excited that we have signed this multi-year agreement with the Edmonton Oilers and help develop future prospects that could end up playing in the NHL,” stated Ramsay. “I’ve known Bill Scott for a number of years, have had a good working relationship in the past and know him to be a quality person. I’m looking forward to extending the relationship and helping develop prospects at all three levels in hopes of these players making it to the NHL someday.”
Last year, forwards Ostap Safin, Beau Starrett, Nolan Vesey, Jakob Stukel, Steven Iacobellis; defenseman Vincent Desharnais, and netminders Dylan Wells and Stuart Skinner all saw action in Wichita. Additionally, eight players from last year’s Thunder squad earned call-ups to the AHL, including seven to the Condors.