The Tampa Bay Lightning, and more directly the Syracuse Crunch, once again has an official affiliation with a team in the secondary minor league in North America, the ECHL.
Wednesday morning it was announced that the Lightning had come into agreement with the Kalamazoo Wings on a one-year affiliation deal. It's the first full affiliation with an ECHL team in... how long? The Lightning had a long-time partial affiliation with the Florida Everblades, but affiliation rule changes helped bring that to a close in (year). The south Florida team's affiliation now sits in full with the Carolina Hurricanes. There's a grander list of secondary affiliations that the Lightning have had over the years that varied from the deep south to the Johnstown Chiefs. Last season, an unofficial affiliation seemed to be in place with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits.
The ECHL is vital in both supplying depth to the AHL clubs, as well as being a lower rung of professional hockey for player development. If the K-Wings and Lightning/Crunch form a long-term affiliation is a long term question, but as for now - they're part of Tampacuse.... Or is that now Tampacuzoo?