The Carolina Hurricanes have a new ECHL affiliate, reaching a one-year agreement with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Swamp Rabbits President Steve Donner released a statement on the partnership:
This a landmark day for our franchise. A year ago, we set out on a goal to find a regional NHL partner to build a relationship with who is committed to development at the AHL and the ECHL level. In partnering with the Hurricanes, we have found that partner for player development with a huge added bonus of marketing synergy in the Carolinas.
The Hurricanes had previously been affiliated with the Florida Everblades, but watched them reach a new agreement with the Nashville Predators organization last month. Greenville will provide a much closer geographical match, located just a four hour drive away from Raleigh. The Swamp Rabbits meanwhile get an NHL affiliate again after operating without one last season. They previously were partnered with the New York Rangers from 2015-18.
Moving from Johnstown in 2010, the Greenville team was originally named the Road Warriors and made the playoffs in four consecutive seasons after the relocation. That success hasn’t continued, as the team has missed the playoffs in four of the last five years and haven’t won a postseason series as the Swamp Rabbits. In fact, the team went just 25-41-6 last season under the coaching of Kevin Kerr, and will hope to turn things around with this new affiliation. That hope may well come to pass, as the Everblades have been one of the most successful teams in the entire ECHL for many years, making the playoffs in all but one season since being affiliated with the Hurricanes.