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July 10, 2024

ESTERO, Florida.— The Florida Everblades announced today that they have entered into a multi-year partnership agreement with the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League. Beginning with the 2024-25 season, the Everblades will serve as an affiliate of the Blues and their primary development partner, the Springfield (Mass.) Thunderbirds of the American Hockey League.

“This connection with the St. Louis Blues is incredibly exciting for the Everblades organization and for me personally,” said the Everblades owner David Hoffmannative Missourian. “To have the opportunity to work with a team from my home state, a team with such a rich history and such a passionate fan base, is truly special.”

“Our new connection with the Everblades is a great addition to our organizational system,” said Kevin MaxwellGeneral Manager of the St. Louis Blues’ AHL affiliate team, the Springfield Thunderbirds. “The franchise has won three consecutive Kelly Cup championships and will provide our young players with an excellent environment for further professional development.”

Founded in 1967 as part of the NHL’s original expansion from six to 21 teams, the Blues won the 2019 Stanley Cup and have the most NHL playoff appearances outside of the league’s original six teams. Last season, the Blues posted an overall record of 43-33-6 (92 points), marking their ninth 90-plus point season in the last 11 seasons. Since the 2010–11 season, the Blues have been managed by Doug Armstrong, the NHL’s longest-tenured general manager, who has led the team to over 600 regular season wins, including five of the six best regular season point totals in franchise history. In the organization’s nearly 60-year history, the Blues have qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs 45 times and reached the Stanley Cup Final four times. The Everblades and Blues will work together for the first time in the upcoming 2024-25 season.

“We are excited to have the St. Louis Blues as our new NHL partner,” said Everblades President Craig Brush. “The strong ownership group led by Chairman and Governor Tom Stillman and President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong have built a great organization in St. Louis. We look forward to becoming an integral part of player development for the Blues and Springfield Thunderbirds. I want to thank my longtime friend Steve Chapman, Executive Vice President, Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer of the Blues, for his hard work in making this possible.”

Originally founded in 1998, the Everblades will celebrate their 27th season in 2024-25. The Everblades won their fourth Kelly Cup in 2023-24, a season in which the team played in front of sold-out crowds 18 times. During a stellar playoff run last season, the Everblades went 16-7 in the postseason and became the ECHL’s first team to win the Kelly Cup three consecutive seasons. Florida won the Kelly Cup in 2012, 2022, 2023 and 2024.

In addition, the Everblades have won six conference championships, eight division championships, and four Brabham Cups, awarded to the ECHL team with the best regular season record. In 26 seasons, the Everblades have qualified for the Kelly Cup playoffs every year but one, and 40 Everblades players have gone on to play in the NHL.

About Florida Everblades
Since their inception in 1998, the Florida Everblades have built a reputation as one of the premier organizations in the ECHL. The Blades have been a consistent force on the ice, making the playoffs in every season but one. Florida also boasts quite an impressive trophy cabinet: They have won four Kelly Cups, were the first team to win three consecutive Kelly Cups, have won the Brabham Cup for the ECHL’s best regular season record four times, and have won six conference titles and eight division titles. Over the course of 26 seasons, 40 Blades players have made it to the NHL. In addition to this winning tradition, the Everblades have also built a large fan base throughout Southwest Florida, having been in the ECHL’s top five in attendance for 17 of their 26 seasons, including six seasons as the league’s leading attendance player.

About St. Louis Blues
The St. Louis Blues joined the NHL as an expansion team in 1967. Since then, the organization has established itself as one of the most successful in league history, boasting four Stanley Cup Final appearances, 10 division championships and more than 30 Hockey Hall of Fame alumni. In 2019, the Blues pulled off one of the most improbable comebacks in sports history, rising from last place in the NHL standings on Jan. 1 to win their first Stanley Cup title. Led by current and longest-serving NHL general manager Doug Armstrong, the Blues have been one of the most successful teams of the past decade, ranking fifth in regular season wins (601), 11th in playoff wins (50) and qualifying for the postseason 10 times.

About Springfield Thunderbirds
Founded in 2016, the Springfield Thunderbirds are currently the AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues. The Thunderbirds won the 2022 Richard F. Canning Trophy as Eastern Conference champions, the first such conference championship for a Springfield-based hockey team since 1991. That same season, the franchise also received the AHL President’s Award as Team of the Year. Throughout their history, the Thunderbirds have produced future NHL stars such as MacKenzie Weegar, Owen Tippett, Jake Neighbors and others. The city of Springfield has won seven Calder Cups in its nearly 90-year history in the American Hockey League. On the business side, the Thunderbirds have increased their average attendance each season, setting an AHL record in Springfield with an average attendance of 6,321, along with 20 sold-out games in the 2023-24 season.

Fans with a ticket membership can reserve seats for Thunderbirds hockey games during the 2024-25 season by calling (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visiting www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.