FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2021
K-WINGS ANNOUNCE NHL AFFILIATION WITH COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Kalamazoo joins forces with Columbus and AHL’s Cleveland Monsters on a partnership for the 2021-22 season.
KALAMAZOO, MI – The Kalamazoo Wings announced Wednesday that the ECHL club has signed an affiliation agreement with the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets and American Hockey League’s Cleveland Monsters for the 2021-22 season.
“We are thrilled to partner once again with the Kalamazoo Wings as they operate as our ECHL affiliate,” said Blue Jackets Director of Player Personnel Chris Clark. “We look forward to seeing the development of some of the young players in our system, both on and off the ice, while working with Head Coach Nick Bootland, his coaching staff and the entire K-Wings organization.”
Kalamazoo and Columbus first partnered from 2014-2016, and seven K-Wings players earned call-ups to the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliates in Springfield (2014-2015) and Lake Erie (2015-2016). One of those prospects, goaltender Oscar Dansk, eventually played six NHL games over three stints with the Vegas Golden Knights from 2017-2021.
“We’re excited to begin this new affiliation with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Cleveland Monsters,” said K-Wings Head Coach Nick Bootland. “Chris Clark was instrumental in creating this partnership. Through our conversations this summer, we share the same vision and belief about the success of this three-tiered system.”
The Blue Jackets also assigned goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks from Cleveland to Kalamazoo during the 2018-19 season. Kivlenieks went 5-3-0 in eight appearances for the K-Wings and made his NHL debut for Columbus in 2019-20. He played 28 games for the Monsters and eight games for the Blue Jackets over the last two seasons. The 24-year-old tragically passed away earlier this month.
Throughout the K-Wings 47-year history, the team has been affiliated with the Detroit Red Wings (1974-1987), Philadelphia Flyers (1984-1987; 2009-2010), Vancouver Canucks (1984-1987; 2011-2015; 2017-2021), Minnesota North Stars (1987-1993), Dallas Stars (1993-2000), San Jose Sharks (2009-2010), New York Islanders (2010-2011), New Jersey Devils (2011-2012), St. Louis Blues (2013-2014), Columbus Blue Jackets (2014-2016; 2021-Present), and Tampa Bay Lightning (2016-2017).
The Kalamazoo Wings are a professional hockey team located in southwest Michigan that has been a staple in the Kalamazoo, MI professional sports landscape since 1974. The K-Wings compete in the ECHL and are the AA affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets and American Hockey League’s Cleveland Monsters. Kalamazoo plays their 36 regular season home games at Wings Event Center from October through April.