IT’S OFFICIAL…IT’S GREENVILLE

Greenville Road Warriors As we have speculated and shared with you for some time, the New York Rangers and Neil Smith are back in business together. Smith’s Greenville Road Warriors will be the new ECHL affiliate for the Rangers and the Connecticut Whalers…Technically they’re still the Hartford Wolf Pack, but that’s only a matter of time.

Here’s the official release from Greenville:

ROAD WARRIORS ANNOUNCE AFFILIATION WITH NEW YORK RANGERS

The Greenville Road Warriors announced today that they have entered into an affiliation agreement with the National Hockey League’s New York Rangers and the American Hockey League’s Hartford Wolf Pack for the 2010-11 season.

“We are all very happy and proud to be the ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers,” said Neil Smith, Road Warriors owner and president. “Glen Sather and Jim Schoenfeld are committed to player development and we will work hard to develop future Rangers here in Greenville.”

Smith was President and General Manager of the New York Rangers from 1989 to 2000, winning the Stanley Cup in 1994 along with the AHL’s Calder Cup in 2000 when the Hartford Wolf Pack were champions. As the Rangers’ and Wolf Pack’s ECHL affiliate, the Road Warriors will receive players for the purpose of developing them as professionals with the ultimate goal of reaching the NHL.

“We are pleased and excited to begin this affiliation with an organization as dedicated to winning and developing young talent as the Greenville Road Warriors,” said Jim Schoenfeld, Assistant General Manager, Player Personnel, Assistant Coach, New York Rangers and General Manager Hartford Wolf Pack.  “Having this relationship with the Road Warriors will enable the Rangers to have our prospects play in an environment that will allow them to develop and progress as professionals within an experienced and dedicated organization.”

One of the Original Six teams, the Rangers took up play in the NHL in 1926 and won their first of four Stanley Cups in 1928. That season they were the first non-Canadian team to capture the Stanley Cup and championships followed in 1933, 1940, and 1994. In their history the Rangers have made the playoffs 52 times including four of the past five seasons. Last season the Rangers won five of their last seven games, but missed the playoffs by a single point. The Rangers are coached by John Tortorella who won a Stanley Cup as the coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004.

The Rangers had been affiliated with the ECHL’s Charlotte Checkers for 16 seasons beginning in 1994-95. In that time 14 players have graduated from the Checkers to the Rangers. They are: Corey Potter, Chris Holt, Dan Girardi, Jason LaBarbera, Thomas Pock, David Liffiton, Layne Ulmer, Richard Scott, Dale Purinton, Benoit Dusablon, Eric Cairns, Johan Holmqvist, Vitali Yeremeyev, and Matt Zaba. In addition, Al Montoya and Tom Pyatt spent time in Charlotte but advanced to the NHL with teams other than the Rangers. Last season 12 players advanced from the Checkers to play with Hartford in the AHL.

The Wolf Pack have been skating in Hartford since 1997, after moving from Binghamton, New York where they had been the Binghamton Rangers. Hartford has enjoyed success at the AHL level with five seasons of 100 points or more, three division championships, and a Calder Cup championship in 2000. The team is coached by Ken Gernander who was the team’s captain from 1997-2004, and holds the team record with 599 games played.

Don’t miss out on your chance to be a part of hockey’s return to the Upstate! Season tickets for the Greenville Road Warriors’ 2010-11 campaign are on sale now and you can reserve yours for as little as $100. To get your season tickets visit the Bi-Lo Center Box Office, point your web browser to www.greenvilleroadwarriors.com, or call the team’s office at 864-250-4868.

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