PORTLAND (AP) – The Portland Pirates announced Monday a five-year affiliation agreement with the National Hockey League’s Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

The deal takes effect for the 2005-2006 season. The Washington Capitals announced last month that they were ending their 12-year affiliation with the Pirates and forming a partnership with the Hershey Bears to be the team’s primary minor-league affiliate.

The Mighty Ducks were previously affiliated with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks in an arrangement dating back to 1997. The team was 44-31-1-4 and finished third in the West Division. The Mighty Ducks lost in the Western Conference semifinal to the Chicago Wolves, dropping the best-of-7 series, 4-1.

This year’s team was the third youngest in the AHL with 13 first- or second-round draft picks. The Hockey News ranked Anaheim fourth out of 30 NHL clubs in terms of its minor league and junior league prospects.

Former Maine hockey player Dustin Penner played in Cincinnati this season and could return to the AHL with the Pirates for the 2005-06 season.

Monday’s announcement was made in Portland by Pirates managing owner and CEO Brian Petrovek and Ducks senior vice president and interim general manager Al Coates.

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