Daily News

Springfield Falcons, Columbus Blue Jackets Extend Affiliation

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Falcons and Columbus Blue Jackets are extending their affiliation through the 2015-16 season with an option for two additional years, Falcons President Sarah Pompea and Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen jointly announced.

The Falcons and Blue Jackets are entering their fifth season of partnership. The extension guarantees that Springfield will continue to serve as the American Hockey League affiliate and help develop top prospects in the Columbus organization through the 2015-16 season.

“We are excited to continue our affiliation and strong relationship with the Columbus organization,” said Pompea. “The extension further affirms our continued commitment to the Greater Springfield community. Columbus has been a great partner, and we look forward to having continued success with them both on and off the ice.”

Added Blue Jackets Assistant General Manager Chris MacFarland, who oversees hockey operations for the club’s affiliates, “the affiliation between the Blue Jackets and Springfield Falcons has been a successful and rewarding one for both clubs, and we’re pleased that the relationship will continue. The Falcons organization, under the leadership of Sarah Pompea, has been tremendous to work with, and we look forward to having our prospects continue to grow and develop in Springfield.”

Since becoming the AHL affiliate of the Blue Jackets in 2010-11, the Falcons have completed some of their most successful seasons. The team has a 163-119-11-15 record over the course of the partnership. They have won back-to-back Northeast Division Championships in 2012-13 and 2013-14. Along with claiming the division title, Springfield also set new franchise records with 47 regular-season wins and a .658 points percentage, while tying a team mark of 100 points, in the 2013-14 season. Additionally, 35 current or former Falcons players have skated in at least one game with the Blue Jackets since the affiliation began four seasons ago.

This season marks the Springfield Falcons’ 21st season in the AHL, while the Columbus Blue Jackets are heading into their 14th National Hockey League campaign. The Falcons play their home games at the 6,784-seat MassMutual Center.

“The extension of the Springfield Falcons’ affiliation agreement with the Columbus Blue Jackets is great news for our region and the MassMutual Center,” said James Rooney, executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, which owns and oversees operations of the MassMutual Center. “We commend Sarah Pompea for her leadership and look forward to the continuation of professional hockey in Springfield.”

The Springfield Falcons kick off the 2014-15 season with a visit to the Syracuse Crunch Oct. 11 and Oct. 17 before returning to the MassMutual Center for the home opener against the Hershey Bears on Oct. 18.