Leafs announce Newfoundland Growlers as new ECHL affiliate

The Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed to a new East Coast Hockey League affiliation with the newly founded Newfoundland Growlers, the team announced Thursday.

The ECHL is two levels below the NHL, and a step below the American Hockey League (AHL).

The Orlando Solar Bears had served as Toronto's ECHL affiliate for the last five years.

"We are excited to begin our relationship with the Newfoundland Growlers as our newest ECHL affiliate," Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said. "This is an important investment for our hockey club as we remain committed to giving our players the best resources possible to ensure their development and professional success. To now have our ECHL affiliate in St. John's, Newfoundland, a town and province which has historically meant a lot to the Maple Leafs, is a truly special opportunity."

The younger generation of Leafs fans only knows the Toronto Marlies as the club's AHL affiliate, but from 1991-2005, the St. John's Maple Leafs served in that role.

Meanwhile, the Growlers explained the meaning behind their primary logo, a Newfoundland dog, last month:

"A large working dog who is known for their size, strength, intelligence, and loyalty. The dog in the logo is fierce and stoic to represent the pride and resilience of our province, and our reputation of never backing down from a challenge."

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