The Hershey Bears announced yesterday that they will extend their affiliation with the Washington Capitals through the 2013-14 season. In addition to the agreement that will keep the Caps & Bears together for nine consecutive seasons - 16 in total as the teams had a previous affiliation from 1977 through 1984.
The Bears are the AHL's oldest continuous team, playing it's first game in 1938 and will be celebrating it's 75th anniversary next season. For the Bears' dodranscentennial, they have two special games planned: The Capital BlueCross AHL Outdoor Classic at Hersheypark Stadium vs Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and one at the Verizon Center vs Norfolk Admirals. The outdoor game, equivalent to the NHL's Winter Classic, will mark the second consecutive season the Bears will compete in an outdoor game. The Bears are 11 time Calder Cup champions, reaching the playoffs each of the last seven years.
In addition to the extension notice, Bears President/GM Doug Yingst announced that Mark French and Troy Mann will return to coach the team next season.