Indy Fuel reaches affiliate agreement with Blackhawks

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The Indy Fuel announced its affiliation with the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday morning.

The five-year agreement will allow the Blackhawks to assign players to Indianapolis for development. It also "provides opportunities for Fuel players to be evaluated for the NHL roster," the team says.

"We are honored to be joining the Blackhawks family, a truly first-class organization with which we share a common philosophy of the game, direction for the team and mutual commitment to our communities," said Indy Fuel President Sean Hallett. "Chicago already has a strong fan base in Indianapolis, and the Blackhawks are a winning organization with a strong emphasis on the development of up-and-coming young talent."

The Indy Fuel begins play this fall in the ECHL at the renovated State Fairgrounds Coliseum. In order to reach the agreement with Indy, Blackhawks officials also announced the end of their agreement with the Toledo Walleye.

"We are excited to begin this new partnership with the Indy Fuel," said Chicago Blackhawks Director of Hockey Administration and General Manager of Minor League Affiliations Mark Bernard. "The Blackhawks and the city of Indianapolis have a history of developing many players that have had successful National Hockey League careers, and we look forward to doing the same with the Fuel and our deep group of talented prospects."