General Manager Wendell Young sits down with chicagowolves.com to answer some questions about the team's new affiliate.
Explain the process of finding an affiliate
The process of choosing a new National Hockey League affiliate was an exciting experience. I have never gone through something like this as a general manager and in fact, this was the first time since the Wolves moved into the American Hockey League that we needed to find a new NHL partner.
Once the Atlanta Thrashers, our affiliate for the past 10 seasons, moved to Winnipeg, we knew that we would need a new team to align ourselves with. Six NHL teams contacted us about the possibility of partnering up and we took the time to speak with each of them. NHL teams are aware of how we treat our players and what facilities we have at our disposal, so we are a desirable option.
After speaking with those six teams, we narrowed the list down to three finalists. Once we got down to the finalists, I broke down the pros and cons of each team with (Chairman of the Board) Don Levin, (Assistant GM) Bill Bentley and (Senior Advisor/Director of Hockey Operations) Gene Ubriaco and we made the decision that the Vancouver Canucks would be the best fit for the Chicago Wolves moving forward.
Why the Vancouver Canucks?
We selected the Vancouver Canucks because we felt that their organization was the best fit for the Wolves. We both are committed to putting the best possible product on the ice each season. The Canucks and Wolves both have a history of winning. Vancouver won the NHL’s President’s Trophy last year for having the league’s best regular-season record and came one win away from winning the Stanley Cup. We look forward to grooming Vancouver’s top prospects and I am certain that both organizations will benefit from and continue to prosper under this new relationship.
Will the Wolves jerseys, colors or team name change in light of this decision?
There will be no changes to the Wolves jerseys, logo or team colors. Our logo, colors and name have been the same since the Wolves were founded in 1994 and are hallmarks of our franchise. Additionally, the Wolves will continue to operate as we always have: complementing Vancouver’s best NHL prospects with veteran players of the highest caliber to create a well-rounded team that is competitive at the highest levels.
What comes next?
Now that we have an affiliation in place, the next task is to hire a coaching staff. The contracts of Don Lever and Ron Wilson were not renewed at the end of last season. The coaching search is already under way. We are working with Vancouver to find the right coaches and we hope to have a staff in place as soon as possible. Free agency begins on July 1, and that is an important factor in shaping next season’s roster. I have already begun working with Vancouver to decide which free agents to target to create a team that can compete for the Calder Cup.