After spending their inaugural season in the ECHL without an affiliate, the Tulsa Oilers announced yesterday that they would be affiliated with the Winnipeg Jets of the NHL and the Manitoba Moose of the AHL. The Moose are entering their first season back in the AHL, after moving from St. John’s, Newfoundland. The Moose last played in the AHL in 2011 as an affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks.
This affiliation is a throwback of sorts, as the Oilers were once affiliated with the old incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets from 1979-82. Those Jets departed Winnipeg in 1996, and have since become the Arizona Coyotes.
The affiliation brings about a huge opportunity for the Oilers. Last season, the Jets held a dual affiliation with the Ontario Reign of the ECHL with the Los Angeles Kings. The Jets had a number of players playing with the Reign, under the watchful eye of their coach at the time, and the now-Oilers coach, Jason Christie.
Christie was quoted as saying, “Being on board with the Jets and the Moose brings Tulsa to a new level as far as player development. It’s always exciting to see guys move up to the next level and to help them get there. I know how incredible it is to play for that organization and I know they’ll be very involved in our team and helping us win.”
Christie once played for the Manitoba Moose, playing 88 games for the team in the mid-90s. He was also an assistant coach with the Chicago Wolves when current-Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff was the GM of the Wolves.
Tulsa received only one NHL-contracted player last season when the Washington Capitals sent goaltender Brandon Anderson to the Oilers for the latter half of the season.
Winnipeg becomes the first Tulsa affiliate since the 2010-11 season, when they were affiliated with the Colorado Avalanche.