The Montreal Canadiens have come to an agreement with the new ECHL expansion franchise in Trois-Rivières, signing a three-year affiliation that starts in the 2021-22 season. Canadiens VP of Hockey Operations John Sedgwick released a statement on the deal:
This agreement provides our organization with an interesting opportunity to expand our development pipeline here in Quebec, while allowing us to closely monitor the development of some of our prospects. The ECHL is a league that deserves more recognition for the talent it displays and for its high quality of play. The decision to move our AHL affiliate team to Laval proved to be very successful, and the advantage of having another affiliate nearby in Trois-Rivières will be very convenient for our hockey operations and to continue scouting local talent.
The new franchise in Trois-Rivières was officially announced last week along with another ECHL expansion team in Coralville, Iowa. Both teams will join the league next season. This affiliation, along with the Laval Rocket of the AHL, allows the Canadiens to keep all three tiers of their organization in Quebec, giving them not only quick player transfer but an easier way to optimize prospect development and evaluation.
Though only officially announced, this ECHL team has been in the works for a while and will be led by GM Marc-Andre Bergeron, former NHL defenseman who spent one season with the Canadiens during 2009-10.