Tampa Bay Lightning to announce minor-league affiliation with CHL Colorado
The Tampa Bay Lightning is expected to announce today a minor-league agreement with the Colorado Eagles of the Central Hockey League. The affiliation was first reported in the Loveland (Colo.) Reporter-Herald. The Lightning on Monday declined comment.
What exactly is this? It is curious, if nothing else as Lightning general manager Brian Lawton has previously said Tampa Bay will not have a second affiliate this season besides AHL Norfolk. It is unclear if the arrangement with Colorado will include a commitment of players, though it seems unlikely if, as Lawton has said, Tampa Bay is committed to just 20 contract players in Norfolk.
The Central Hockey League is a very minor league, a level below the ECHL.
The Lightning is scheduled to play a Sept. 23 exhibition game with the Coyotes at the Eagles' stadium, the Budweiser Events Center. The Reporter-Herald also had two other tidbits; that Lightning co-owner Len Barrie played junior hockey for Colorado president and general manager Chris Stewart, and Tampa Bay's director of player personnel, Jim Hammett, is Stewart's brother-in-law.