Idaho Steelheads extend affiliation with Stars

The Dallas Stars and Idaho Steelheads on Wednesday renewed their agreement through the conclusion of the 2017-18 season.

“We are pleased to renew our affiliation with the Steelheads for the next two seasons,” Director of Hockey Operations and Texas Stars General Manager Scott White said. “Head Coach Neil Graham is a good, young coach who quickly built a strong rapport with his players. He gives his players every opportunity to succeed and has fostered the developmental culture we strive to possess throughout the entire organization. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Steelheads.”

The Steelheads have served as the ECHL affiliate of the Stars since the 2005-06 season, as well as during the 2003-04 season.

The Steelheads have won two Kelly Cup Championships and have been to three Kelly Cup Finals since their partnership with Dallas began.

Eight former Steelheads — G Richard Bachman, G Matt Climie, G Dan Ellis, F BJ Crombeen, F Aaron Gagnon, F Gavin Morgan, F Tom Wandell, and F Francis Wathier — have played in the National Hockey League with Dallas.

During the 2015-16 season, four players under NHL contract with the Stars — forwards Emil Molin and Taylor Peters, and goaltenders Philippe Desrosiers and Jack Campbell — saw significant game action for Idaho. They combined to play 134 games for the Steelheads last season, with Molin earning the team’s Most Valuable Player award and Campbell earning ECHL Player of the Month honors in January. Desrosiers, a second-round Stars’ draft pick in 2013, went 12-1-4 over his final 17 regular season ECHL decisions and started all seven of the Steelheads’ playoff games.

Forwards Gemel Smith, Branden Troock, and Cole Ully, also under NHL contract with Dallas, combined to play 18 games in Idaho this season while on assignment from the American Hockey League’s Texas Stars, the AHL affiliate of both Dallas and Idaho. The Texas Stars will continue to operate as Dallas’ top development affiliate in the American Hockey League.

“We’re extremely excited to renew our affiliation,” Steelheads head coach and Director of Hockey Operations Neil Graham said. “Dallas is a first class organization and we’re very proud to assist in the development of their future players. Scott White has continually built winning teams in Texas year after year and we have really enjoyed working with Scott, Coach Derek Laxdal in Texas, as well as the entire Hockey Operations staff of the Dallas Stars.”