Washington Capitals get it right with Hershey Bears

Hershey Bears, Washington Capitals (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Hershey Bears, Washington Capitals (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

The Washington Capitals and Hershey Bears have extended their affiliation agreement through the 2023-24 season.

The Washington Capitals announced on Friday morning that their affiliation agreement with the Hershey Bears has been extended through the 2023-24 season.

The Bears are a storied franchise and their partnership with the Caps has been top notch in developing their prospects. It was the right and only decision.

With the news of the AHL season officially being canceled saddening hockey fans everywhere, Caps and Bears fans can be at ease knowing that their partnership has been extended for the next four seasons.

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The Bears finished up their 15th season as the Capitals AHL affiliate and has qualified for the playoffs in 12 of the last 15 seasons excluding this year with the season being cancelled. Hershey also took home the Calder Cup in 2006 as well as back to back years in 2009 and 2010.

The Bears have also reached the Calder Cup Finals five times in those 15 years. Their most recent trip was the 2015-16 season. No other AHL franchise has reached the finals more times in that span.

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said in a press release from the Caps:

"“We have enjoyed our long-lasting partnership with the Hershey Bears and are excited to extend our affiliation. Hershey has a tremendous history within the American Hockey League. They are well-run and a first-class organization. We believe the franchise’s winning culture provides our prospects with the best opportunity to develop.”"

Bears vice president of hockey operations Bryan Helmer added: 

"“The Hershey Bears are thrilled to continue our partnership with one of the NHL’s elite franchises. Together, the Hershey Bears and Washington Capitals have established a winning culture that goes hand-in-hand with organizational development at both the AHL and NHL levels. The Bears and Capitals have experienced success and championships during this long-standing affiliation, and we look forward to continuing this partnership for years to come.”"

14 current or former Hershey Bears suited up for the Capitals in the 2019-20 season. Those players are Travis Boyd, John Carlson, Christian Djoos, Martin Fehervary, Braden Holtby, Tyler Lewington, Beck Malenstyn, Dmitry Orlov, Michael Sgarbossa, Ilya Samsonov, Jonas Siegenthaler, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, and Tom Wilson.

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The Bears are the AHL’s oldest and most decorated franchises, boasting a winning culture of excellence. It’s the kind of culture the Caps are building down here in Washington and with both clubs on the same page it was only the right thing to do in extending their affiliation agreement.