The Edmonton Oilers have extended their ECHL affiliation with the Wichita Thunder through the 2019-20 season, allowing them to keep their two-tiered development system under their new management team. Front office executive Bill Scott released a statement on the extension:
On behalf of Ken Holland and the Edmonton Oilers, we’re very excited to extend our affiliation agreement with the Wichita Thunder. We believe in new Head Coach Bruce Ramsay to develop our prospects in a positive, winning environment that will lead to success for the Thunder and Oilers. Wichita has been a terrific partner and we are pleased to continue our relationship together.
The Oilers have been affiliated with the Thunder since 2017-18, when they parted ways with the Norfolk Admirals. The Thunder made the playoffs in year one of that affiliation, but missed them this season after putting up a 29-31-12 record. In April, the team fired head coach Malcolm Cameron and subsequently hired former Grand Rapids Griffins assistant and Calder Cup champion Bruce Ramsay.
While the ECHL may not be the primary development league, it is still an important part of the Oilers organization as they look to maximize the potential of their prospects. Especially in net, where Stuart Skinner and Dylan Wells split this season, the Thunder will be responsible for getting raw or overlooked prospects off to a good start in their professional careers.