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SUNRISE (CBSMiami) — The Florida Panthers are making a big change in their organization.

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Florida has been in talks with the American Hockey League’s Portland Pirates to make them the Panthers new AHL affiliate.

The Panthers and Pirates jointly made the official announcement on Wednesday as the two clubs entered into a four-year agreement.

The Pirates are in the fourth and final season of their deal with the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

“We are extremely pleased to announce this new affiliation with Portland,” said Panthers general manager Dale Tallon. “Portland is a great hockey town, and we look forward to our prospects continuing to grow and develop in a successful and winning culture in Portland.”

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Eric Joyce, who has been serving as the general manager for the Panthers current AHL affiliate in San Antonio, will have the same role in Portland.  He will oversee all matters related to the club’s minor league hockey operations.

“Portland is a vibrant city and hockey-rich market that will provide our prospects with an exceptional environment for growth and development,” said Joyce. “The Pirates roster will  include our organization’s top prospects who will compete hard and play an exciting style of hockey for the fans of Portland.”

The Pirates were established in 1993 and are the fourth-longest tenured AHL franchise that has operated continuously in its current market.

After a 12 year stint as affiliate for the Washington Capitals, which began in 1993, Portland has since been partnered with the Anaheim Ducks and Buffalo Sabres before coming to terms with Arizona.

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