The Tampa Bay Lightning and Syracuse Crunch have announced a five-year extension on their AHL affiliation agreement. The extension also includes a two-year option at the end of the deal.
The Lightning and Crunch have been affiliated since the 2012-13 season when the Lightning left the Norfolk Admirals. At the time, the stated reason for the move was that the Crunch are more centrally located to the Lightning’s in-season opponents. This means that when the team is on the road, there is a much better chance of being able to quickly get a call-up from the AHL to the game in time to participate.
"I've been in this game 24 years, so I know quality, and the Tampa organization is the epitome of that" -Howard Dolgon pic.twitter.com/LO9B6KOK8F— Niko Tamurian (@NikoTamurian) September 12, 2018
The extension runs through the 2022-23 season and the two-year option for 2023-24 and 2024-25 is a mutual option where both sides must agree to continue the affiliation. The agreement also includes a restructuring of the agreement for the 2018-19 season. This ensures stability for both franchises, the Crunch coaching staff, and the prospects and veteran minor leaguers that play for the Lightning organization.
Since beginning their affiliation, the Crunch have been to the Calder Cup finals twice and have made the playoffs in four out of six seasons. The Crunch are 231-145-41-30 during the affiliation and have won a total of seven playoff series.
49 players have appeared with both the Crunch and the Lightning. Of the Lightning’s expected opening night roster, both goaltenders, two of the eight defensemen, and ten of the 14 forwards have played for the Syracuse Crunch.
AHL President Dave Andrews told Dolgon that the Syracuse/Tampa partnership is the "model" . Julien Brise Bois told him "we don't want to go anywhere else, you don't want to go anywhere else, we love working together"— Niko Tamurian (@NikoTamurian) September 12, 2018
In a related move, RawCharge has re-signed Alex to a five-year extension. Alex will continue with the organization as associate editor, nickname granter, and all-around Syracuse Crunch observer.