The Carolina Hurricanes are closing in on signing an affiliation agreement with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL, moving their AHL partnership away from the Charlotte Checkers who have served as their primary minor league affiliate since relocating from Albany in 2010. The Checkers, presumably upset with the decision, released a statement on the situation:
While we are aware that the Carolina Hurricanes are nearing an affiliation agreement with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, the Hurricanes have had little dialogue with us regarding this matter.
In an era when NHL teams are placing great value on affiliations with closer proximity between the two clubs, we understand the confusion that such a move would cause.
We will explore other options for our affiliation and look forward to continuing in the American Hockey League when play resumes.
The Wolves, a long-standing independently-owned AHL franchise, became available when the Vegas Golden Knights recently bought the San Antonio Rampage and subsequently moved them to Henderson to serve as their affiliate. When the St. Louis Blues (previously partnered with San Antonio), took up a partnership with the Springfield Thunderbirds, there was already rumors that Carolina would be joining the Wolves and that the Florida Panthers (previously partnered with Springfield) would partner with the Checkers.
Florida remains the only team without an AHL affiliate at the moment, meaning that partnership seems likely at this point. According to Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News & Observer, the Hurricanes could announce their deal with the Wolves as soon as next week when the rest of the AHL season could be officially canceled.