(HockeySTL) -- The St. Louis Blues announced on Thursday that they and the St. Charles Chill had finalized an affiliation agreement.
“We’re excited and humbled to be part of the Blues organization,” said Jamie Rivers, former Blues defenseman and Chill general manager and head coach. “I know personally that they’re a first-class organization and I am thrilled to be part of it again. We will support the Blues’ hockey operations to the best of our abilities and we look forward to working with them.”
Starting this season, the Blues can assign players and prospects to the Chill, who are a part of the Central Hockey League (CHL). The Chill are the Blues’ third affiliated team. The Chicago Wolves, of the American Hockey League (AHL), and the Evansville IceMen of the East Coast Hockey League are the Blues’ other affiliate clubs. This is the first season that the Blues have joined up with the Wolves, as well.
The Peoria Rivermen were the Blues’ AHL affiliate before this season, but the Blues chose to cut costs and team up with the Wolves instead, moving their prospects and minor-league players to Chicago.
Before their new affiliation agreement with the Chill, the Blues were limited in their options, having to send their signed prospects to the Wolves or back to their junior clubs. Chill players can now be called upon to play for the Blues or the Wolves, as well. The new agreement gives the Blues more flexibility, and a more efficient avenue for keeping tabs on their prospects.
“It’s great for us to be able to keep an eye on our prospects right in our own backyard,” said Tim Taylor, Blues Director of Player Development. “We look forward to working with the Chill in their inaugural season and continuing to grow with them as an organization.”
Another advantage of the new affiliation is the relationship between the Blues’ and Rivers.
Rivers, 38, played with the Blues off and on for five seasons in the NHL. He was hired by the Chill in 2012. The Blues are sure to have Rivers’ ear regarding their prospects. For developmental purposes, the new affiliation agreement is a huge plus for St. Louis hockey.
It will be interesting to see how the Blues utilize the new agreement. It is likely that the Blues will send just their younger prospects to the Chill, conserving spots on the Wolves for players that are farther along in their development.
The Chill begins their inaugural season this Saturday at the Family Arena in St. Charles against the Missouri Mavericks.