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Savannah Ghost Pirates

Ghost Pirates announce Vegas as Affiliate, Bennett as Head Coach

Ghost Pirates announce Vegas as Affiliate, Bennett as Head Coach

MACON, Ga – The Savannah Ghost Pirates set sail into the ECHL next year and will undoubtedly have hopes of a high level of success as an expansion team.

Their NHL affiliate knows quite a bit about reaping the wind of numerous victories during the first season of play when they advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals.

On Thursday, the Ghost Pirates announced that Vegas Golden Knights would be their NHL affiliate alongside their AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights. That ends the previous ECHL affiliation for the Golden Knights with the Fort Wayne Komets.

“We have confidence that the Ghost Pirate’s NHL/AHL partnership with the Vegas Knights organization will provide us with a successful and hard-working team,” said Ghost Pirates president Bob Ohrablo.  “The reception we have received from the Savannah community has been overwhelming. Our goal was to sign an affiliation with a premier NHL franchise. With this announcement, we can say that we’ve accomplished this.”

Just prior to Thursday’s unveiling, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson dropped subtle hints with references to a ‘hot town’ and wanting to go somewhere where one could take part in activities such as placing a few bets.

Shortly after, the news was unveiled, complete with a few Vegas showgirls near the stage and Elvis Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas” playing overhead.

The team even made light of an internet rumor that the Nashville Predators were going to the team’s NHL affiliate.

The announcement took place surrounded by fans and other community members at the venue that the Ghost Pirates will call home the Enmarket Arena. It came at the same event in which Rick Bennett was announced as the first head coach in franchise history.

A national-champion coach from the college ranks with Union College in 2014, he led his team to ECAC regular-season titles in 2012, 2014, and 2017 and conference titles in 2012, 2013, and 2014, having an overall coaching record of 126-41 in 11 years.

In addition to playing 351 AHL games and 265 in the ECHL, he had three separate stints as a player with the New York Rangers. This won’t be Bennett’s first hockey involvement within the southeast. During his time in the ECHL, he had stops with the Jacksonville Lizard Kings and Pee Dee Pride.

As to how the Ghost Pirates will be run from the angle of personnel decisions, indications are that the Silver Knights general manager Tim Speltz will play a sizeable role.

“We are proud to be sending our players to develop with the Savannah organization,” Speltz said. “Savannah has opened their arms to professional hockey and we are excited about being an important part of this.”



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    Brad Harrison covers the Macon Mayhem for Field Pass Hockey. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @FPHMayhem.

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