TULSA, OK — It’s official. The Tulsa Oilers are the proud ECHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues.
On Tuesday afternoon at the BOK Center, Oilers GM Taylor Hall and Head Coach Rob Murray announced that the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League would be the Oilers NHL affiliate.
For the last two seasons, Tulsa had been the ECHL partners of the Manitoba Moose and Winnipeg Jets, and that ended with the departure of former head coach Jason Christie in mid-May. The affiliation will be for one year, which is a typical agreement period for ECHL clubs.
The Blues were one of six teams added to the NHL in the 1967 expansion and recently celebrated their 50th Anniversary. The team competes in the Central Division of the NHL’s Western Conference and plays at the Scottrade Center in downtown St. Louis.
Another connection that went unmentioned at the press conference was that former Oilers head coach Garry Unger played nine years with the Blues in the 1970s, playing the majority of his 914 games with the club and making the 1974 NHL All-Star Game.
“It is truly an honor for us to affiliate with such a class organization like the St. Louis Blues,” said Oilers General Manager Taylor Hall. “Our fan base will be thrilled as we have many Blues fans here in Tulsa.”
During his six seasons as the head coach of the Alaska Aces, Oilers head coach Rob Murray held an affiliation with St. Louis for three of them.
“There’s a familiarity with St. Louis through a working relationship I’ve had with the Blues organization throughout the years,” said Murray. “We’re looking forward to working with them and developing any players that come our way.”
At present, the Blues do not have a primary AHL affiliation but will be working with the Chicago Wolves and San Antonio Rampage. They recently announced a full partnership with the San Antonio Rampage, but that affiliation doesn’t go into effect until 2018-19.
Also at the press conference, Murray indicated that he has several other players signed that are forthcoming, but he wasn’t at liberty to divulge them due to immigration and other paperwork clearances.