By Adam Turner
Thursday marked one of the most exciting days in the annals of 22 years of Utah Grizzlies Hockey as the club officially announced its affiliation with its new parent club, the Colorado Avalanche, thereby ending its partnership with the Anaheim Ducks effective July 1, 2018. Joining in the proud tradition of Avalanche hockey that has produced the likes of General Manager Joe Sakic and former greats such as Peter Forsberg, Ray Bourque and Patrick Roy, to say that the Grizzlies are excited to be affiliated with Colorado would be an understatement.
From a geographical sense, the move makes perfect sense as every minor league club affiliated with Colorado are within one state line of one another. Needless to say, being in such close proximity yields innumerable benefits such as players being able to travel to and from with relative ease. Most importantly, the move will be most exciting for fans of Grizzlies Hockey as clubs affiliated with the Avalanche have garnered plenty of success.
Most notably, the Colorado Eagles, back to back ECHL Kelly Cup Champions, are affiliated with the Avalanche. The Eagles have been elevated to the AHL but will maintain their partnership with the Avalanche. With a proven track record of being willing to furnish its minor league clubs with talent, the sky will be the limit for Grizzlies hockey for many years to come.
For fans of the Utah Grizzlies and Colorado Avalanche, then, October can’t come soon enough as the Grizzlies look for a bounce back year and return to its rightful standing as one of the premier clubs in the ECHL.