Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning reaches affiliation deal with Colorado Eagles of Central Hockey League

There is no commitment to provide players, and an announcement Monday by the Lightning was bereft of details.

Even Chris Stewart, president and general manager of the Central Hockey League's Colorado Eagles said, "Specifics, there isn't any. … This is a work in progress kind of thing."

Even so, the affiliate agreement between Tampa Bay and Colorado seems to have potential benefits for both sides.

The Eagles could provide short-term roster depth for the Lightning's AHL affiliate in Norfolk, which next season will get just 20 players from the big club. And the Eagles might become a way station for Lightning draftees who are not yet ready to play in Norfolk.

Considering it does not have an ECHL affiliate, Tampa Bay could use such a stop.

Stewart acknowledged the CHL is a level below the ECHL. Still, he said players who don't need more time as juniors but are not ready for the AHL "need somewhere to play, somewhere professional where they can get the proper training, a lot of ice time and be in a conducive environment where they get better."

What's in it for the Eagles?

"We're looking to try to keep our fans on the edge of their seats," Stewart said. "We've done that the last few years. To be able to help develop young players and help them make it to the National Hockey League will be intriguing for our fans. That's the motivation behind it more than anything else."

How it all comes together remains to be seen. Norfolk owner Ken Young said helping out his team with short-term roster relief "sounds workable." And having this type of affiliate seems more cost-effective for the Lightning than an ECHL deal in which it would have to provide some players.

General manager Brian Lawton could not be reached. The Lightning promised more details Sept. 23, when it faces the Coyotes in an exhibition game at the Eagles' 5,500-seat arena in Loveland, Colo.

The affiliation has no connection, Stewart said: "The game is something we were going to do regardless. The affiliation thing was more of an afterthought."

Stewart has several Lightning connections. He coached co-owner Len Barrie in 1985-86 for Calgary of the Western Hockey League, and Tampa Bay director of player personnel, Jim Hammett, is his brother-in-law.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at

Tampa Bay Lightning reaches affiliation deal with Colorado Eagles of Central Hockey League 08/17/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 7:58am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays video tribute to ex-manager Joe Maddon upon return with Cubs


    Here is the Rays video tribute to former manager Joe Maddon, who returned to the Trop for the first time on Tuesday with his Cubs team:

  2. After Irma disruption, Miami eager to face Toledo


    LAKE BUENA VISTA — Like thousands of other evacuees, Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz headed north to escape Hurricane Irma with his family, two suitcases and the anxiety of not knowing what would happen to everything he left behind.

    Miami coach Mark Richt watches during a victory over B-CU in the Sept. 2 opener. The Hurricanes haven’t played since.
  3. Joe Maddon on being back at Trop, Cash, a new stadium


    More to come later, but a couple of quick early highlights from former Rays manager Joe Maddon's return to the Trop with the Cubs:

    Joe Maddon, right, speaks with Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey before Tuesday's game at Tropicana Field.
  4. Former Lightning forward Brian Boyle diagnosed with cancer, expects to keep playing

    Lightning Strikes

    New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the team's doctor said can largely be treated with medication.

    Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the team's doctor says can be treated with medication, the Devils announced Tuesday. [AP photo]
  5. Lightning Strikes! podcast: Preseason storylines to watch


    In this episode of our Lightning Strikes podcast, Joe Smith and columnist Tom Jones set up the preseason with storylines to watch, as well as expectations for the season. Will defenseman Mikhail …

    Will defenseman Mikhail Sergachev make the Lightning?