The Portland Pirates will announce their new National Hockey League affiliation on Wednesday, the culmination of a process that began with the westward migration of five American Hockey League franchises to California.

The NHL team most likely to pair with Portland is either the Florida Panthers or Washington Capitals.

Brad Church, Portland’s chief operating officer, spoke to players and coaches at practice Monday in Saco to confirm that the Arizona Coyotes and the Pirates will part ways in amicable fashion after this season.

“I felt it was important that everybody knew that we’re going to honor the agreement through what hopefully is a long Calder Cup playoff run,” Church said. “No matter what happens, the Portland-Arizona agreement runs through the end of the season.”

Church said the Pirates began looking at other options earlier this season when it became clear the Coyotes would prefer to have their top minor league team closer to the West Coast. Five AHL franchises will relocate to California for the 2015-16 season.

“When they said, ‘Hey, we’re not sure what we’re going to do,’ that’s when I began conversations with a handful of potential (NHL) partners,” Church said. “The first thing I had to do was target anybody who had an affiliation running out, because we weren’t going to interfere with anybody (who had a deal that extended beyond this season).”

As the dominoes fell, and Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles and San Jose announced in late January that their affiliates would be based in California to form a new Pacific Division, Church made a list that gradually got shorter. Last week, Winnipeg unveiled plans to move its AHL franchise from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Montreal will fill the void in St. John’s by moving its AHL franchise there from Hamilton, Ontario, at least until construction of a proposed new rink is complete in Laval, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal.

At the moment, the only current AHL teams with NHL partners who have yet to announce their intentions beyond this season are San Antonio-Florida and Hershey-Washington.

The Pirates arrived in Portland from Baltimore as a Capitals affiliate in 1993, just in time for a successful Calder Cup campaign and remained partners until 2005. Washington Coach, Barry Trotz was the man behind the bench during Portland’s 1994 championship run and the three seasons that followed.

Since the Caps left town after a 12-year partnership, the Pirates joined forces with Anaheim for three years and then Buffalo for three before their current four-year affiliation with Arizona.

The Capitals, meanwhile, have remained in Pennsylvania with the Hershey Bears, the AHL’s attendance leader for the past eight seasons, playing in an arena located 140 miles away.

During nine seasons as junior partners of the Capitals, the Bears have qualified for the playoffs eight times and won three Calder Cups, in 2006, 2009 and 2010.

Last May they announced a one-year extension of their agreement through this season, and Hershey President and General Manager Doug Yingst was quoted as saying, “The affiliation makes perfect sense geographically and logistically.”

San Antonio and Florida were partners from 2002 to 2005 and then reunited in 2011. In the five-year interim, the AHL franchise was affiliated with the Coyotes, who left Texas for Maine.

On Saturday, Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney said Arizona was finished with Portland after this season and that the team would prefer to have its top minor-league affiliate closer to the NHL club.

Geographically, it would make sense for Arizona and San Antonio to get back together. A spokesman for the Panthers – Florida jointly owns the San Antonio franchise with the NBA San Antonio Spurs (the AHL franchise shares an arena with the Spurs) – declined comment on their affiliation plans, saying only that the team has an agreement with San Antonio through the end of the season.

The Capitals entered the week leading the NHL Eastern Conference wild-card chase, two points above the Bruins and eight above the Panthers.

Church said a representative of Portland’s new affiliate would join him on a conference call Wednesday rather than come to Maine in person.

“They can’t send anyone up here,” Church said, “because they’re entrenched in a playoff battle.”

Hershey, San Antonio and Portland entered the week in position to make the AHL playoffs, which begin in late April. Hershey and the Pirates were second and sixth in the Eastern Conference, and San Antonio was fourth in the West.