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Capitals renew affiliation with Hershey Bears

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Capitals renew affiliation with Hershey Bears

When Brian MacLellan took over as Capitals general manager last summer one of his goals was strengthening the relationship between the Caps and their American Hockey League affiliate Hershey Bears.

Both teams hired new head coaches – Barry Trotz and Troy Mann – and both teams returned to the playoffs before falling in the second round.

On Wednesday, the two clubs announced they have extended their affiliation agreement through the 2015-16 season.

“We are extremely pleased to extend our affiliation with the Hershey Bears,” said Capitals president Dick Patrick. “In our view, Hershey is a top franchise in the American Hockey League, and we look forward to our top prospects continuing to develop in a successful and winning culture in Hershey.”

The Bears recently completed their 10th season as the Caps’ AHL affiliate and reached the playoffs for the ninth time in those 10 years. They also won the Calder Cup in 2009 and 2010, as well as in 2006. Hershey has reached the Calder Cup final in four of the 10 seasons it has been affiliated with Washington under the current agreement.

 Last season, 22 former or current Bears played for the Caps: Karl Alzner, Jay Beagle, Chris Brown, Andre Burakovsky, John Carlson, Chris Conner, Eric Fehr, Stanislav Galiev, Mike Green, Philipp Grubauer, Jack Hillen, Braden Holtby, Marcus Johansson, Brooks Laich, Michael Latta, Liam O’Brien, Steven Oleksy, Justin Peters, Cameron Schilling, Nate Schmidt, Aaron Volpatti and Tom Wilson. 

“The Hershey Bears are proud to continue one of the longest-running partnerships in professional hockey,” Bears president and general manager Doug Yingst said. “This affiliation has always made perfect geographic and logistical sense, and we expect that fans in both Hershey and Washington will again have a competitive and exciting team to cheer for.”

 The Bears have led the AHL in attendance for nine straight seasons, with 372,070 fans visiting the Giant Center in 2014-15, an average of 9,791 fans per game. The team also welcomed a new regular-season record crowd of 10,998 on April 18 when the Bears hosted the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Giant Center seats 10,500 for hockey and is located less than 140 miles from Verizon Center.

The Capitals and Bears were previously affiliated for seven seasons from 1977 to 1984, including the Bears’ 1980 Calder Cup championship.

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10 changes that would make the NHL better

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USA TODAY Sports

10 changes that would make the NHL better

Hockey is one of the most incredible, compelling sports in the world. As fun as it is to watch on TV, it is even more compelling in person and fans in North America are treated to the best hockey in the world as played in the NHL.

But the NHL's not perfect.

SEE THE 10 CHANGES THAT WOULD MAKE THE NHL BETTER HERE

Just like every sports league, the NHL is always adjusting and making changes to the game in order to improve it through things like rule changes, expansion, playoff formats, etc.

No sport is perfect and hockey is not without its flaws, but there are a number of clear changes that could be made that would improve both the game and the league.

 SEE THE 10 CHANGES THAT WOULD MAKE THE NHL BETTER HERE

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Brian MacLellan got his day with the Stanley Cup over the weekend

Brian MacLellan got his day with the Stanley Cup over the weekend

Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan finally got his day. 

Over the weekend, MacLellan played host to the Stanley Cup, taking it home to his offseason house in Minnesota. 

MacLellan brought the Cup to Powderhorn Park, where a youth hockey tournament was being put on by the Herb Brooks Foundation. 

MacLellean talked with local media about the experience:

"It's a fun day, a fun day to see people react to the Cup," MacLellan told FOX 9 TV. "You know, it brings a lot of smiles to people's faces, people that sometimes don't get a chance to get close to it are getting an opportunity and it's fun to watch them enjoy it."

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