BOISE, ID – The Dallas Stars and Idaho Steelheads have extended their partnership through the conclusion of the 2017-18 season.
The Steelheads have served as the ECHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars since the 2005-06 season, as well as during the 2003-04 season. The Steelheads have won two Kelly Cup Championships and been to three Kelly Cup Finals since their partnership with Dallas began. Eight former Steelheads- G Richard Bachman, G Matt Climie, G Dan Ellis, F BJ Crombeen, F Aaron Gagnon, F Gavin Morgan, F Tom Wandell, and F Francis Wathier – have played in the National Hockey League with Dallas.
The Stars finished in first place in the Western Conference last season with 109 points, their most since the 2005-06 campaign. The Steelheads finished as the West Division runners-up last season, with a record of 38-24-4-3 (86 points) under first year head coach Neil Graham, but were eliminated in the first round of the Kelly Cup playoffs by the eventual champion Allen Americans.
“We are pleased to renew our affiliation with the Steelheads for the next two seasons,” said Director of Hockey Operations and Texas Stars General Manager Scott White. “Graham is a good, young coach who quickly built a strong rapport with his players. He gives his players every opportunity to succeed and has fostered the developmental culture we strive to possess throughout the entire organization. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Steelheads.”
During the 2015-16 season, three players under NHL contract with the Stars- forwards Emil Molin and Taylor Peters, plus goaltender Philippe Desrosiers – saw significant game action for Idaho. They combined to play 114 games for the Steelheads last season, with Molin earning the team’s Most Valuable Player award. Desrosiers, a second-round Stars’ draft pick in 2013, went 12-1-4 over his final 17 regular season ECHL decisions and started all seven of the Steelheads’ playoff games.
Forwards Gemel Smith, Branden Troock, and Cole Ully, also under NHL contract with Dallas, combined to play 18 games in Idaho this season while on assignment from the American Hockey League’s Texas Stars, the AHL affiliate of both Dallas and Idaho.