Brampton’s controversial franchise in the mostly unknown Central Hockey League took a huge step towards credibility on Thursday.  The club announced they have come to a one year affiliation agreement  for the 2013-2014 season with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League and the Syracuse Crunch, Tampa’s American Hockey League affiliate.
Hockey hall of famer and Lightning Vice President and General Manager, Steve Yzerman is excited by the new partnership  “We take our developmental system very seriously and that is why we are here today. We are looking forward to working with the Beast, and continuing our minor league successes as they embark on their inaugural season as the first-ever Canadian franchise in the Central Hockey League.”

Some 500 spectators were in attendance for Thursdays mid day announcement at the Rose Theatre in Brampton, among them were representatives from all three organizations.

Julien BriseBois, the GM of the Crunch and Assistant GM of the Lightning who was on hand said  “It is a good day for hockey in Brampton. Development is very important to us. The roadmap to the Stanley Cup goes through development,” adding that he feels Brampton , “is the best community to partner with!”

While there is still a long road ahead before any judgement can be made regarding the long-term prospects of the franchise, Beast management looks to be giving it their best shot at creating a successful hockey team in the heart of Leafs nation.

Thursdays affiliation announcement should help with marketing the club as well, the odd Steven Stamkos, Martin St.Louis or Victor Hedman appearance to go along with Yzerman showing his face from time to time won’t hurt either.

Will Brampton be another failed GTA hockey experiment or the stable long-term tenant the Powerade Centre is looking for?  Regardless of which way it goes one thing is for certain, this group is poised to bring things to the table the likes of which Brampton Hockey fans have never seen before.

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