WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Wichita Thunder are now the ECHL affiliate for the NHL San Jose Sharks and the American Hockey League (AHL) San Jose Barracudas.

The deal was formally announced Thursday in a news release from the Sharks.

“We’re looking forward to working with the Wichita Thunder, including Head Coach Bruce Ramsay and General Manager Joel T. Lomurno,” said Sharks Assistant General Manager and San Jose Barracuda (AHL) General Manager Joe Will. “Having a solid affiliation in the ECHL is important to our player development plan, and the ECHL has a solid track record with preparing prospects for their NHL and AHL careers.”

The Thunder were previously affiliated with the Edmonton Oilers from 2017 to July when it was announced the Ft. Wayne Komets would take over. The Thunder were also briefly the minor league affiliate for the Ottawa Senators for the 2016-2017 season.

“We’re very excited to partner with San Jose for this coming season,” Lomurno said. “I want to thank Joe Will and John McCarthy for their willingness to work with us this year. We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship for this and hopefully many seasons to come.”

As an affiliate, players in the Sharks development program will be assigned to Wichita. In addition, Thunder team members will have two-way contracts with the AHL and ECHL. The Thunder’s new season starts Oct. 22.