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Wolves add Nashville affiliation for 2020-21

The Chicago Wolves announced Thursday they have reached an agreement with the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators and Carolina Hurricanes on a partnership for the 2020-21 American Hockey League season.

The Milwaukee Admirals, Nashville’s long-time AHL affiliate, announced Monday it will not participate in the upcoming season slated to begin Feb. 5. The Wolves’ one-year affiliation with Nashville allows the Predators to loan Chicago players who normally would suit up for Milwaukee. The Wolves entered a three-year partnership with Carolina on Sept. 10, 2020.

“We have great admiration and respect for (Nashville president of hockey operations and general manager) David Poile and Milwaukee owner Harris Turer,” said Wolves owner and chairman Don Levin. “The Admirals can’t play this year for reasons beyond their control, so we want to help people we respect and who are our partners. We’re going to combine the best available players from both sides and have a really good team.”

“This season presents a unique situation, with NHL teams having taxi squads and some AHL teams opting out,” said Carolina president and general manager Don Waddell. “We were able to come to an agreement with the Predators and Wolves that we believe benefits everyone involved. The Wolves have been great partners and we’re thankful for their willingness to work out this agreement.”

Since the Wolves were founded in 1994, they have faced Milwaukee more than any other organization. The teams located just 80 miles apart have played 279 regular-season games and met in six postseason series over the last 26 years.

The Wolves coaching staff, led by new head coach Ryan Warsofsky, will handle coaching duties. The team will play home games this season at the Chicago Wolves training facility at Triphahn Ice Arena in Hoffman Estates, where the Wolves are establishing strict COVID-19 protocols to maximize everyone’s health and safety. Fans will not be permitted to attend games until the Illinois Department of Public Health deems it safe to do so.