According to a team release, the Washington Capitals have reached a four-year extension with the Hershey Bears, to keep the team’s AHL affiliate in the chocolate capital. The team will play through the 2019-20 season.
In Hershey, the Capitals have one of the best organizations in the AHL. The Bears have reached the post-season in 10 of their 11 seasons as the Washington affiliate, including Calder Cup championships in 2006, 2009 and 2010. They also went to the finals just last season where they would eventually lose to the Lake Erie (now Cleveland) Monsters.
With the stability, the Capitals can continue their pipeline of talent, one remeniscint of past Red Wings teams. Many of the Caps’ players have spent time in the AHL, including Vezina trophy winner Braden Holtby and defensive stud John Carlson.
Led by Chris Bourque, who scored 80 points to lead the team last season, the Bears were first in AHL attendance once again (their 10th consecutive season as such), drawing close to 400,000 fans in 2015-16. Once again they will be a powerhouse in the league and continue to develop young players for the Capitals for the next few years.