Chicago Pairs Up With Thrashers

By Andrew Bourgeois


The Chicago Wolves begin play in a new league and have a new NHL affiliation for next season.

They were one of six teams that moved to the American Hockey League from the International Hockey League, which officially folded. The Wolves confirmed they will be an affiliate of the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers.

At least three key players from the Wolves’ IHL days will remain. Right wing Rob Brown, defenseman Bob Nardella and left wing and captain Steve Maltais signed contracts for next season.

The Wolves will operate under new rules when the AHL begins its 67th season in October. The AHL allows a team to dress only seven players who have played more than 260 professional games.

“That’ll be a huge change,” said Brown, an 11-year NHL veteran who has played three seasons with the Wolves. “We’ll get a lot of young kids who are just starting out. They will energize us.”

Wolves chairman Don Levin long has been against a full affiliation with an NHL club, but the AHL requires it. Last season the Wolves had a partial affiliation with the New York Islanders but also took players on loan from six other NHL teams.

“I consider it a full affiliation when [the NHL club] unloads a truck and brings in all the players and coaches,” Levin said. “I’m still against that. But we still have our own general manager [Kevin Cheveldayoff] and our own coach [John Anderson].”

Don Waddell, the Thrashers’ general manager, said he and Cheveldayoff will work together to determine the Wolves’ roster.

“This couldn’t have worked out any better for us,” Waddell said. “We share the same vision, and that is to win.”
In other AHL news the Hamilton Bulldogs announced today that the Edmonton Oilers have re-signed left-winger Fernando Pisani to a contract.

In 52 games during the 2000-01 season, Pisani enjoyed a successful rookie campaign in Hamilton with the Bulldogs. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound winger scored 12 goals and 13 assists for 25 points and added a whopping 28 minutes in penalties.

The 24-year-old Pisani was originally selected as the Oilers 9th choice (8th round), 195th overall in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to becoming pro, he played four seasons at Providence College accumulating 153 points (56-97) and 154 penalty minutes in 147 games played.


The Cleveland Barons, who played in the AHL from 1936 to 1972 won a record nine championships. The Hershey Bears have the most championships of active franchises with eight, the first in 1947 and the most recent in 1997.


June 12, 1978 the Great One Wayne Gretzky signs his first professional contract with the WHA’s Indianapolis Racers.