Toledo to continue Detroit affiliation for three seasons

Staff Writer

The Toledo Walleye, affiliate of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, announced on Jan. 15 a three-year extension of their affiliation agreement. The 2024-25 season will mark the 15th year of partnership between the clubs and extends the affiliation through at least the 2026-27 season.
“We’re very pleased to continue our partnership between the Red Wings and the Walleye,” said Red Wings Executive Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman. “Toledo continues to be an outstanding organization both on and off the ice, and playing in front of a passionate fanbase and a commitment to a winning culture has been vital for the development of our young players. We’re looking forward to seeing the Walleye continue their pursuit of a Kelly Cup championship.”
The Walleye have served as the ECHL’s affiliate to the Red Wings since 2009 when Toledo re-entered the league. From that time, the Walleye have played in two Kelly Cup Finals (2019 and 2022), captured five division championships and three regular season titles (2014-15, 2016-17, 2021-22), and have qualified for ECHL’s postseason in nine seasons.
Detroit was previously affiliated with the ECHL’s Toledo Storm from 1991-99 and 2000-07. The Storm won ECHL championships in 1993 and 1994 and captured six division titles over their 16-season history. The Walleye will honor those championships during their Toledo Storm Weekend, Jan. 27-28.
“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Detroit and Grand Rapids,” said Joe Napoli, Walleye president and CEO. “It is a privilege to work with one of the most respected franchises in the NHL and be a part of the player development strategy.”
“The relationship between the Red Wings, Griffins and Walleye is one of the strongest in professional hockey,” said Neil Neukam, Walleye executive vice president and general manager. “This extension is a testament to their trust in our coaching and support staff as well as the passion of our great fans, who make Toledo such a great place for young players.”
Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde made his professional coaching debut with the Walleye from 2014-16, posting a 97-35-7-5 record and a 14-14 postseason mark. Additionally, Griffins head coach Dan Watson served as Toledo’s head coach from 2016-23, compiling a 272-112-22-13 record and a 51-34 playoff ledger.
Under the current affiliation, the Red Wings provide several NHL-contract players to the Walleye, as well as signing players to AHL/ECHL contracts who can play for either Grand Rapids or Toledo. Since 2009-10, 19 players and one coach from Toledo have gone on to the NHL, including 10 for the Red Wings – Jake Chelios, Jared Coreau, Martin Frk, Kaden Fulcher, Luke Glendening, Nick Jensen, Brian Lashoff, Tom McCollum and Andrej Nestrasil.


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