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Thunder Extends NHL Affiliation With San Jose

Friday, June 14th
Thunder Extends NHL Affiliation With San Jose

WICHITA, Kan. (June 14) – The Wichita Thunder, powered by Toyota, are excited to announce that they have extended their affiliation agreement with the NHL's San Jose Sharks and the AHL's San Jose Barracuda for the 2024-25 season. 

"We're happy to continue our partnership with San Jose," stated General Manager Joel Lomunro. "It was exciting to see some of the players wear both the Sharks and the Thunder jersey last season. With San Jose’s help and support, we're looking forward to putting a solid team on the ice this season while helping develop more players for the NHL."

Under the affiliation agreement, the Sharks will be able to designate players within their development system for assignment with the Thunder. The club will also be composed of players who are signed to two-way AHL contracts in addition to those on ECHL contracts (under agreement with the Thunder).

The 2024-25 season will be the third year that the Thunder will partner with San Jose. Last year, Wichita had ten players spend time in the Air Capital that were either on AHL or NHL contracts. Two of the three goalies that came down to Wichita (Magnus Chrona and Georgi Romanov) played in their first NHL games last season. 

"We’re excited to be back with Wichita for another season," said Sharks Assistant General Manager and San Jose Barracuda (AHL) General Manager Joe Will. "With such a heavy emphasis on scouting and development in the Sharks organization, our ECHL affiliation is critical to our player development plan. Under the leadership of Bruce Ramsey and Joel Lomurno, we're confident that our prospects will be given the tools to develop."

San Jose joined the NHL in 1991. The Sharks have advanced to the Western Conference Final six times, which included them capturing the Presidents’ Trophy in 2009. San Jose has also earned five Pacific Division titles and made a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2016.

“I'm excited to work with San Jose for another season,” said Thunder Head Coach Bruce Ramsay. “Last year, we saw several talented players that came from their system, including goalies Magnus Chrona and Georgi Romanov who played in Wichita and made it all the way to the Sharks, which is a pleasure to help them reach their dream of playing in the NHL. I was pleased with the progress of several players who spent a significant amount of time here. We look forward to growing our partnership and working together to ensure success at each level for all three teams.”

The Sharks have several ties to the ECHL on the team’s coaching staff, including Head Coach Ryan Warsofsky who served as an assistant coach with the South Carolina Stingrays from 2013-2016. He was the team’s head coach from 2016-2018. Assistant Coach Scott Gordon (Johnstown Chiefs), who was the first ECHL graduate to ever play in the NHL, went on to serve as head coach of the Roanoke Express from 1998-2000. Goaltending Coach Thomas Speer, who played for both the Idaho Steelheads and Las Vegas Wranglers in 2011-12, served as a goaltending coach with then-Sharks affiliate Allen Americans from 2014-2017.

Additionally, Sharks goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood played in five ECHL games with the Adirondack Thunder in 2017-18, defenseman Kyle Burroughs played in 18 contests with the Missouri Mavericks in 2015-16, defenseman Jacob MacDonald skated in 110 games split over three seasons between the Elmira Jackals and Toledo Walleye and forward Scott Sabourin appeared in three games with the Manchester Monarchs in 2015-16.

San Jose is the third NHL partner for the Thunder since joining the ECHL. Wichita has previously worked with the Ottawa Senators and Edmonton Oilers.

The 2024-25 schedule is now available. Start planning now as we get ready for our 33rd year in the Air Capital. Click HERE to learn more about the schedule and who we play. 

Season tickets for the 2024-25 season now on sale. Save money by reserving your seats for all the fast-paced, hard-hitting action of every game. Click HERE to learn more.