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Minor League Hockey Shake-up...coming


JackieMoon
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I could see this potentially being the Wild's ECHL franchise as they already have an AHL franchise in Des Moines. Which would leave the Allen Americans open for new affiliation. The Stars currently have their ECHL team in Boise. Maybe the Stars can have the Americans while the Kraken has the Steelheads?

 

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That sounds like the thing to do, yeah. If the Palm Springs AHL team isn't up and running by 2021, maybe Seattle can dump its farmhands in Boise and have them run roughshod over the rest of the Etch.

 

  

On 7/20/2020 at 2:00 PM, Dilbert said:

A tentative deal has been reached by the owners of the ECHL Newfoundland Growlers to place an expansion team in Trois Rivieres for the 2021-22 ECHL season. No official announcement yet but the owner of the Growlers say they are staying in St. John's.

So wait, the team that was headed for Trois-Rivieres went to a suburb of Iowa City instead? God, yet another indignity for the people of Quebec.

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14 minutes ago, the admiral said:

So wait, the team that was headed for Trois-Rivieres went to a suburb of Iowa City instead? God, yet another indignity for the people of Quebec.

I don't think so? From everything I'm seeing through my looking online, the Trois-Rivieres ECHL team is still a-go for the 2021-22 season. The Coralville ECHL team just seems to be a new venture entirely for MacDonald.

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  • 2 months later...

Edit: Report Confirmed. Cincinnati, Idaho and Kalamazoo opt out. Toledo approved to begin in February. No word on Fort Wayne.

 

It appears 3 more teams, as well as possibly 2 others are opting to sit out the 2020-21 ECHL season. It is reported that Cincinnati, Idaho and Kalamazoo will sit out this season with Fort Wayne and Toledo yet to decide. Supposedly November 30th was the deadline to opt out so Im guessing it was extended. They join Adirondack, Atlanta, Brampton, Maine, Newfoundland, Norfolk, Reading and Worcester who have already opted out. If Fort Wayne and Toledo also opt out, half the league will be sitting out the season with just 13 teams opting to play. Some teams preseasons have already started.

Edited by Dilbert
Report confirmed. Toledo to begin in February
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Gonna be an interesting year in the ECHL. I could see a handful of teams going under this year. Whether it be from not playing, or from playing and not making enough money to keep things going. Gonna be hard for Toledo to make it through the season with Ohio's strict guidelines. They are only allowing 300 people into the arenas on game day/night. That includes players, coaches and staff. 150-200 fans are not going to foot all the utility and operation expenses. I hate to see this as it could be the demise of the ECHL. Not very many owners in this league have deep pockets.

The AHL on the other hand should be fine for the most part, where as most teams are owned by their NHL affiliate.

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8 hours ago, JackieMoon said:

Gonna be an interesting year in the ECHL. I could see a handful of teams going under this year. Whether it be from not playing, or from playing and not making enough money to keep things going. Gonna be hard for Toledo to make it through the season with Ohio's strict guidelines. They are only allowing 300 people into the arenas on game day/night. That includes players, coaches and staff. 150-200 fans are not going to foot all the utility and operation expenses. I hate to see this as it could be the demise of the ECHL. Not very many owners in this league have deep pockets.

The AHL on the other hand should be fine for the most part, where as most teams are owned by their NHL affiliate.

A quick glance at Wikipedia pages reveals that 19/31 AHL teams are owned by or have common ownership with their NHL team, plus the Cleveland Monsters share ownership with the Cavs. The only ECHL team to share common ownership with an NHL franchise is the Maine Mariners (who are taking the year off) with the Flyers, despite being affiliated with the Rangers, the Orlando Solar Bears share ownership with the Magic, and the Kansas City Mavericks share ownership with the Chiefs.

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I said near the start of this pandemic that on the other side of it, minor league hockey would be the survivors of the AHL and ECHL merged into a single circuit, and maybe nothing professional surviving below that. I haven't seen anything yet that would change my mind.

 

I do think it's possible that it stays two-tiered, with 16 teams carrying dual affiliations in each for the sake of survival. But teams are so much more invested on putting their systems fully in their farm teams than they were 15 years ago, so even if that happened, I couldn't see it lasting long-term.

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7 hours ago, Sodboy13 said:

I said near the start of this pandemic that on the other side of it, minor league hockey would be the survivors of the AHL and ECHL merged into a single circuit, and maybe nothing professional surviving below that. I haven't seen anything yet that would change my mind.

 

I do think it's possible that it stays two-tiered, with 16 teams carrying dual affiliations in each for the sake of survival. But teams are so much more invested on putting their systems fully in their farm teams than they were 15 years ago, so even if that happened, I couldn't see it lasting long-term.

 

I agree with you 100% I noticed a big difference in the Cyclones attendance over the past couple of years. If they make it through it will surprise me.

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On 9/19/2020 at 6:05 PM, Red Comet said:

I could see this potentially being the Wild's ECHL franchise as they already have an AHL franchise in Des Moines. Which would leave the Allen Americans open for new affiliation. The Stars currently have their ECHL team in Boise. Maybe the Stars can have the Americans while the Kraken has the Steelheads?

 

 

The Allen Americans would make sense for the Stars since Allen, Texas is only 21 miles from the Stars training facility in Frisco.

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The ECHL was a better idea in theory than in practice. Their affiliations are in name only; any prospect worth a damn is staying in major-junior for one more year or already on the NHL roster altogether -- even the AHL's blue-chippers these days are third-liners at best, such that even an assignment to the AHL is practically a career death sentence, to say nothing of the next league down. If you're lucky, maybe there's a decent goalie stashed on an Etch team, but usually it's just a bunch of pylons tragically deluding themselves while they beat each other up.

 

My guess is that the NHL and AHL cut the cord and whatever's left after this becomes an independent oaf league on par with the SPHL. Hockey, like baseball, worships at the Church of Cost-Controlled Assets now. The old Red Wings (and to a lesser extent Blackhawks) model of overdeveloping prospects is completely out of fashion -- get 'em up, get 'em out, repeat. There's just no place for a tertiary league in addition to the majors and Europe.

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The Coast has some notable alums but let's be real, for NHL teams it's really about ice time for your 5th and/or 6th goalie.

 

The ECHL is already a mostly independent league but it'll be interesting to see what happens. Some NHL teams had been looking at the Toronto/Toronto/Newfoundland model and were considering or had already started implementing it themselves. If there's enough interest in keeping the model of having more players under contact all working under the same systems, the Coast could survive.

 

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Before I moved, I was still writing for TheSinBin.net and was talking to the owner of the Pensacola Ice Flyers before the SPHL announced their plans for this season. I know how to read between the lines with him and he said the league has definitely received interested from ownership groups representing markets already in the league footprint. He didn't name markets or explicitly say that teams from other league (ECHL and FPHL most likely) have inquired but it doesn't take a genius to realize that there are a ton of teams in the league's current that could be looking to jump ship or would be forced to jump ship.

 

I and the other writers were all expecting the Fed do go belly up and thus forcing Scott Brand to bite the bullet with Columbus and Winston-Salem going to the SP. Atlanta and Norfolk are sitting out this season and I could easily see Norfolk in the SP, if they even come back at all with how abysmal their attendance has been. I think Atlanta would stick with the Coast unless Greenville (they have abysmal attendance too) and the Florida Trio are all gone.

 

Really the only markets in the SP's current footprint that have a serviceable venue but no team at this time would be Louisville; Florence, SC; Biloxi; Southaven/Memphis; and maybe Tupelo, MS if the T-rex wanna come back (please please, please; I know a former GM of the team was kicking the tires). I'd say cities like Lexington, Columbia, and Tallahassee are right out. There's a reason the Inferno stopped playing in USCe's arena; Rupp is a basketball specific arena so that sucks for hockey; Tally has a small permanent population with an already spread thin sports dollar. You have two D1 athletic departments, FAMU's arena wouldn't work, hockey would be third level tenant at best at the Tucker Center, and even behind some annual touring shows when it comes to dates. Even when you take away the dates issue, football and baseball are big at FSU. FSU is one of the few baseball programs that actually runs some sort of profit.

 

I don't see the league venturing back into central Florida (Lakeland or Kissimmee) with an ECHL team in Orlando. I also doubt we'd see a Jr. team jump to the SP. The only even remotely possible team would be Shreveport and I think the league would want to bridge the gap with a team or two in Mississippi before going into western Louisiana. All that said, it seems pretty obvious that interest would be current ECHL or FPHL markets (whether that be the current teams or not). ... Or Savannah when the new arena is done.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Why not combine Atlantic and North and slide Colorado from Pacific to Central? You'd get 10-7-7 among the American teams and Colorado is the only one with any sort of long road trips, which they would've had anyways.

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Also worth noting here is the temporary relocations of Binghamton, Providence, San Diego and Ontario. Binghamton will be in Newark, Providence in Marlborough MA, Ontario in El Segundo CA, and San Diego in Irvine CA.

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