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Sabres agree to ECHL affiliation with Cincinnati Cyclones

The Buffalo Sabres have a new affiliate. It’s the renewal of a long-defunct partnership.

The Sabres announced Thursday they have reached an agreement with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. The developmental league is a notch below the American Hockey League.

“We’re excited to be able to partner with the Cyclones and fill an important part of our minor-league system,” said Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill. “The ECHL has proven to be a valuable training ground for prospects in the past, and we anticipate Cincinnati becoming an asset to our organization in terms of developing talent for the NHL and AHL levels.”

The Sabres previously had an affiliation deal with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL, but the organization folded following a last-place season this year.

The Sabres had an AHL team in Cincinnati, Ohio, from 1971 to 1974. Known as the Cincinnati Swords, they made the playoffs all three seasons, including a Calder Cup championship in 1972-73.

The Cyclones debuted in the ECHL in 1990 before playing in the International Hockey League from 1992 to 2001. Prior to the 2001-02 season, a new franchise returned to the ECHL under the Cyclones name before going dormant from 2004 to 2006.

Since returning to the ECHL in 2006-07, the Cyclones have won two Kelly Cup championships (2008 and 2010). They have made the playoffs in eight of nine seasons.

Among the Buffalo prospects who played in the ECHL this season were Vaclav Karabacek, Jason Kasdorf and Brycen Martin.

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