(RAPID CITY, S.D.) – The Rapid City Rush are proud to announce that the organization has entered into a multi-year agreement to serve as the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Calgary Flames and the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers.
“I could not be more excited to partner with the Flames and Wranglers,” Spire Holdings president Todd Mackin said. “When going through the process of finding an affiliate, Calgary stood out immediately as the type of franchise we wanted to join forces with. It’s clear that this is going to be a true partnership, one that will be beneficial for all three organizations and that will help us continue to build a winner in Rapid City.”
The Rush and Flames begin their partnership in the 2022-23 season. Calgary will be able to assign players to the Rush from both the AHL and NHL level. The Flames recently moved their AHL affiliate from Stockton, California to Calgary, where they will compete as the Wranglers.
“This is a big day within our organization,” Rush head coach and general manager Scott Burt said. “With the familiarity, trust, beliefs and vision we all share, we believe affiliating with Calgary was the right move for us. We aim to help develop young prospects and seasoned players to help them reach their dream of competing at the highest level. We will continue to build our culture and winnings ways to make the Black Hills proud. Partnering with Calgary helps bring us one step closer to our goals.”
Calgary is the third NHL affiliate in the Rush’s franchise history. Rapid City was first partnered with the Arizona Coyotes for two seasons from 2015-17. The Rush were affiliated with the Minnesota Wild for one year, the 2017-18 season. And most recently, Rapid City spent the last three seasons as the ECHL affiliate of the Coyotes. The Flames had been the NHL affiliate of the Kansas City Mavericks for the previous five seasons.
“The Calgary Flames are pleased to reach an affiliate agreement with the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush,” said Calgary Flames assistant general manager Brad Pascall. “Our organization prides itself on its ability to develop young prospects and was seeking a team with great ownership like Rapid City that shares our principles and objectives regarding player development. This affiliation with a hockey city like Rapid City, led by general manager and head coach Scott Burt, will be a great fit with the Calgary Flames.”
In its history, Calgary has had 46 former ECHL players suit up for at least one game with the Flames. The Rush have had seven players go on to play in the NHL. Two made their debuts in the 2021-22 season, Coyotes defenseman Dysin Mayo and Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Erik Kallgren.
The Flames were originally founded in 1972 as the Atlanta Flames and have played in Calgary since 1980. They have qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in three of the past four seasons and won the division title in two of those years. Calgary advanced to the second round of the 2022 postseason, before falling to the Edmonton Oilers in six games. The Flames have won one Stanley Cup, bringing home the NHL’s top prize in 1989.
The Wranglers will open their first season in Calgary in October of 2022, and will play in the Scotiabank Saddledome, home of the Flames. They are the second team to use the name Wranglers in the history of Calgary hockey. Previously, a Western Canadian Junior Hockey League team competed in Calgary under the moniker of Wranglers for 10 seasons beginning in 1977. In their final season in Stockton as the Heat in 2021-22, they went 45-16-5-2, won the Pacific Division and advanced to the Western Conference Final of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Rapid City enters the 2022-23 season coming off the franchise’s most successful season since it joined the ECHL. The Rush went 36-25-6-5, qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time in seven years and defeated the Allen Americans in five games in the first round before falling to the Utah Grizzlies in six games in the second round.
Opening night for the 2022-23 season will take place on October 28 against the Kansas City Mavericks. Season tickets and mini packs are on sale now and can be purchased over the phone at (605) 716-7825 or online at rapidcityrush.com.