ST. PAUL -- The National Hockey League's (NHL) Minnesota Wild today announced a multi-year ECHL affiliation agreement with the Iowa Heartlanders beginning with the 2021-22 season.
"We are thrilled to announce a new ECHL affiliation agreement with the Iowa Heartlanders," said Minnesota Wild General Manager Bill Guerin. "We look forward to being a part of the Heartlanders inaugural season and helping grow the great sport of hockey while also having the opportunity to develop players at both the AHL and ECHL level in Iowa. This is an exciting day for our organization."
Under the affiliation agreement, the Heartlanders will serve as a resource for the development efforts and personnel needs of both the Iowa and Minnesota Wild. The agreement allows Wild prospects to be assigned to the Heartlanders for developmental purposes throughout the season. Minnesota's primary development affiliate is the Iowa Wild in the American Hockey League (AHL).
"We are excited to enter into this affiliation agreement with the Minnesota Wild and their AHL affiliate the Iowa Wild. We share the Wild's vision on player development and look forward to being a link in the development chain and helping prepare prospects for promotion within the system," said Iowa Heartlanders President Brian McKenna. "Geographically, the distance between St. Paul, Des Moines and Coralville will make player movement much easier. Beyond that, we look forward to working with the Iowa Wild to promote the sport within the state and grow hockey at the grassroots level."
The Iowa Heartlanders is the state's first ECHL team and was approved by the League's Board of Governors for expansion in January 2021. The Heartlanders are owned by Deacon Sports and Entertainment and will play at the brand new Xtream Arena in Coralville - a 5,100 seat venue which was completed in September 2020. Iowa will play its first-ever game on Oct. 22 vs. Kansas City. For more information on the Heartlanders, including schedule and tickets, visit iowaheartlanders.com.