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ST. JOHN’S, NL – With four months to go until the start of a new ECHL season, the Newfoundland Growlers continue to put together their organization and checked off a big box on the “to-do” list Thursday.

The team announced they will be the ECHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies beginning in the 2018-19 season.

“We are thrilled to announce our affiliation with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Marlies,” stated Dean MacDonald, Chairman of Deacon Sports & Entertainment. “The Toronto Maple Leafs have a rich and storied past and the Growlers are excited to be a part of their future. We want to thank the Maple Leafs for their belief in our organization and we look forward to working with them as we bring ECHL hockey to the wonderful fans of our province.”

The announcement marks the second occurrence that Newfoundland & Labrador will serve as a proving ground for Maple Leaf prospects as the NHL club previously held a 14-year affiliation with the St. John’s Maple Leafs of the American Hockey League from 1991 until 2005. After the 2005-06 season, the American Hockey League franchise moved to Toronto and became known as the Marlies and currently play out of the Ricoh Coliseum where they are facing off against the Texas Stars in the 2018 Calder Cup Final.

“We are excited to begin our relationship with the Newfoundland Growlers as our newest ECHL affiliate,” said Kyle Dubas, General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. “This is an important investment for our hockey club as we remain committed to giving our players the best resources possible to ensure their development and professional success. To now have our ECHL affiliate in St. John’s, Newfoundland, a town and province which as historically meant a lot to the Maple Leafs, is a truly special opportunity.”

The Growlers open their ECHL tenure at home on October 12, when they host the Florida Everblades at Mile One Centre.

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