NORFOLK, Va. - The Norfolk Admirals announced that the team has entered into an affiliation agreement with the National Hockey League’s Winnipeg Jets and American Hockey League's Manitoba Moose.
"We are excited to begin our partnership with the Norfolk Admirals,” said Craig Heisinger, Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations/Assistant General Manager of the Winnipeg Jets. “The city of Norfolk and the Admirals franchise have a rich hockey history and we look forward to the opportunity that this affiliation will provide for our prospects.”
"Last year, our organization made a concerted, positive transformation to our on and off-ice product that our incredible city and fanbase has been desperate for,” said Jeff Carr, General Manager and Head Coach of the Norfolk Admirals. “This affiliation helps us build a solid base as we continue to ascend into our new culture.”
The Winnipeg Jets were originally founded in 1972 and joined the World Hockey Association (WHA) by 1979. The Jets then joined the National Hockey League as part of a merger with the WHA. In 1996, the team was sold to Phoenix businessman, Jerry Colangelo, and the club was moved to Arizona.
In 1999, the Atlanta Thrashers became the NHL's newest expansion franchise. After 11 years in Atlanta, the franchise relocated back to Winnipeg and were named the Jets, once again. Since then, the Jets have been a stable and consistent team and have frequently found themselves at the center of playoff conversations.
The Jets have qualified for the playoffs in five of the last six seasons. Most recently, they finished with 95 points, going 46-33-3 during the regular season. They lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion, the Vegas Golden Knights, in the first round of the playoffs.
“Winnipeg's dedication to winning and development is no secret in the hockey world,” Carr said. “With the depth that Winnipeg has and their view on development, they're going to be very involved with our roster. We both feel that joining forces together with the goals of character, winning, and development will outweigh any obstacles of geographical distance.”
The AHL’s Manitoba Moose are coming off a second consecutive season where they made the Calder Cup Playoffs. After going 37-25-6-4 in the regular season, the Moose finished third in the Central Division and fell to the Milwaukee Admirals in the first round of the playoffs.
The Moose were founded in 1994 and played their first two seasons as a franchise in St. Paul, Minnesota. From 1996 to 2011, they played in Manitoba, winning two division titles and one conference championship (2008-09). After a four-year stint in St. John’s, the club returned to Manitoba and have been in the American Hockey League since 2015.