The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced the Newfoundland Growlers as their new ECHL affiliate for the 2018-19 season.
The Growlers replace the Orlando Solar Bears as the Maple Leafs’ secondary affiliate. Orlando was a Maple Leafs affiliate from 2013-18.
Here is the full statement made by the Maple Leafs:
"We are excited to begin our relationship with the Newfoundland Growlers as our newest ECHL affiliate," said Kyle Dubas, General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. "This is an important investment for our hockey club as we remain committed to giving our players the best resources possible to ensure their development and professional success. To now have our ECHL affiliate in St. John's, Newfoundland, a town and province which has historically meant a lot to the Maple Leafs, is a truly special opportunity."
"We would also like to extend our thanks to the Orlando Solar Bears organization for their five years as an affiliate and partner of our hockey club and wish them success in the future," said Dubas.
"We are thrilled to announce our affiliation between the Newfoundland Growlers, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Marlies," stated Dean MacDonald, Chairman of Deacon Sports Enterprises. "The Toronto Maple Leafs have a rich and storied past and the Growlers are excited to be a part of their future. We wish to thank the Maple Leafs for their belief in our organization and we look forward to working with them as we bring ECHL hockey to the wonderful fans of our province."
The Growlers will compete in the North Division of the Eastern Conference of the 27-team league in their inaugural season and play out of Mile One Arena. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment will be responsible for the filling the Growlers' vacancies on the coaching staff, medical staff and equipment staff.
The 2018-19 season will mark the inaugural season for the Growlers. The Growlers will serve as the Maple Leafs' secondary affiliate and the primary affiliate of the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies.
Toronto had previous affiliations with Reading, Columbia and Pensacola of the ECHL prior to the deal with Orlando in 2013.
Exciting news for the hockey development in Toronto!