The Iowa Heartlanders announced their NHL affiliation on Thursday, as they will now be a part of the Minnesota Wild organization. As per the official press release, it will be a multi-year deal between the Wild and Heartlanders. “We are thrilled to announce a new ECHL affiliation agreement with the Iowa Heartlanders,” said Minnesota Wild General Manager Bill Guerin. “We look forward to being a part of the Heartlanders inaugural season and helping grow the great sport of hockey while also having the opportunity to develop players at both the AHL and ECHL level in Iowa. This is an exciting day for our organization.” This comes as no surprise, as the Wild currently have their AHL team in Iowa as well. That said, the Heartlanders become the 26th team to have both an NHL and AHL affiliate. The Norfolk Admirals, however, are the only ECHL team that is privately owned and operated.
Minnesota Holds Affiliates Close To Home
As has been expected, the Minnesota Wild will now have both farm system partners located in Iowa. Geographically speaking, the two teams are 112 miles apart from one another. The AHL’s Iowa Wild are three and a half hours from their parent club in Minnesota. With the Heartlanders joining the Wild family, the Allen Americans will need a new affiliate for next season. Recent rumblings have suggested that the Americans might find their next partnership in the San Jose Sharks. At the moment, they’re the only team that does not have an ECHL affiliate. They did, however, partner with the Worcester Sharks in their inaugural season when they entered the league. Now that the distance between the two teams is substantially shorter, it wouldn’t be much of a shock if such an idea did come to fruition.