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Another ECHL Team Folds...


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From the Fresno Bee...

Apparently the story was updated throughout the day, hence the times...

1:45 p.m.: ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna said the league's board of governors voted today to terminate the Fresno Falcons' membership.

"The board of governors advised us Friday that for financial reasons the Falcons were ceasing operations," McKenna said. "That's a violation of league bylaws, which results in automatic termination. Fresno's ownership came to the determination that it couldn't move forward and decided to fold."

McKenna said Falcons players have been declared free agents and can sign with any of the ECHL's remaining 21 teams.

1:24 p.m.: Fresno Council Member Mike Dages called the Falcons' decision "a shame." He said City Hall should step in and save the franchise: "I'd like to take it over until we can find someone to sell it to."

1:21 p.m.: Fresno Falcons CEO John Tull said the financially troubled ECHL team is "folding for the season, maybe forever. Nobody could find a viable solution to make it work."

The Falcons, in their sixth season as an ECHL member, were leading the Pacific Division with an 18-10-2 record and had 42 games left.

Tull said the ECHL might hold a dispersal draft for other teams to pick up Falcons players.

Fresno is the second ECHL team to shut down operations this season. The Augusta, Ga., Lynx folded earlier this month.

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From the Fresno Bee...

Apparently the story was updated throughout the day, hence the times...

1:45 p.m.: ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna said the league's board of governors voted today to terminate the Fresno Falcons' membership.

"The board of governors advised us Friday that for financial reasons the Falcons were ceasing operations," McKenna said. "That's a violation of league bylaws, which results in automatic termination. Fresno's ownership came to the determination that it couldn't move forward and decided to fold."

McKenna said Falcons players have been declared free agents and can sign with any of the ECHL's remaining 21 teams.

1:24 p.m.: Fresno Council Member Mike Dages called the Falcons' decision "a shame." He said City Hall should step in and save the franchise: "I'd like to take it over until we can find someone to sell it to."

1:21 p.m.: Fresno Falcons CEO John Tull said the financially troubled ECHL team is "folding for the season, maybe forever. Nobody could find a viable solution to make it work."

The Falcons, in their sixth season as an ECHL member, were leading the Pacific Division with an 18-10-2 record and had 42 games left.

Tull said the ECHL might hold a dispersal draft for other teams to pick up Falcons players.

Fresno is the second ECHL team to shut down operations this season. The Augusta, Ga., Lynx folded earlier this month.

Whats the over/under of 3 or more teams folding in the ECHL this season?

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Where does this place Blackhawks on assignments, like Joe Fallon?

I tried to find some info on that for you, to no avail.... While I'm sure they are still Blackhawks property, all of the Fresno players are apparently Unrestricted free agents... Take that for what it's worth. It's late here and I'm trying to wrap my head around it.

I addition... this is what really kind of screwy.... the Falcons were in first place in their division. There's no word if they will forfeit all games and those points will be reassigned to the losing teams, or if those points are just gone, or what. There's a lot to consider in all of this.

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Wow.. now that is very interesting... I dont think I ever saw 2 franchises fold mid-thru a season.. that certainly is a first....

Welcome back to the mid-to-late 1970s people.

Yay bad economy!

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Who else is in big trouble in the ECHL? I'm curious as to see who that is....

It wouldn't shock me a bit to see the Dayton Bombers, Johnstown Chiefs or Wheeling Nailers go under. No, I have no knowledge that tells me that's imminent, but it surely wouldn't surprise me.

Ahhh now that might be something to watch in the months to come?

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Got an update from the Gladiators via Facebook:

"The Gwinnett Gladiators announced Saturday that they have signed an affiliation agreement with the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL to serve as the ECHL affiliate of the Blackhawks. Chicago?s previous ECHL agreement with the Fresno Falcons ended when Fresno ceased operations on Dec. 22. The Gladiators will continue to serve as the ECHL affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers."

Interesting... and exciting for me since I got a flex pack for Christmas!

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Got an update from the Gladiators via Facebook:

"The Gwinnett Gladiators announced Saturday that they have signed an affiliation agreement with the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL to serve as the ECHL affiliate of the Blackhawks. Chicago?s previous ECHL agreement with the Fresno Falcons ended when Fresno ceased operations on Dec. 22. The Gladiators will continue to serve as the ECHL affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers."

Interesting... and exciting for me since I got a flex pack for Christmas!

And interesting because, at least in theory, it sends players from the same team off to Chicago and Rockford, two of the AHL's fiercer rivals. Familiarity breeds contempt, after all...

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Again proof of my theory that the west coast teams should NOT be in the EAST Coast Hockey League. Keep your eastern teams and jettison the west coast teams as they don't belong. This so reminds me of the joke that was the U.S. expansion by the CFL. It's a failed experiment, just admit it!

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Again proof of my theory that the west coast teams should NOT be in the EAST Coast Hockey League. Keep your eastern teams and jettison the west coast teams as they don't belong. This so reminds me of the joke that was the U.S. expansion by the CFL. It's a failed experiment, just admit it!

The league is not called the EAST Coast Hockey League, its only called the ECHL, it doesnt stand for anything anymore. Thanks for playing!

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The addition of the WCHL teams to the ECHL was a bad idea. Great from a marketing perspective in that it's a 'national' league, but bad from an overall business and logistics perspective.

Where in the league's early days you had cities like Johnstown, Dayton, Huntington WV, Erie and the like not only able to compete on the ice but able to break-even if not make a buck, today's ECHL makes it virtually impossible for teams in those cities to be profitable. The southern expansion put the first nail in the coffin for teams such as this, and their continued western growth (yeah, I know, the eastern teams don't play the WCHL teams hardly if at all) has merely compounded the problem. Travel and hotel accommodations cost serious money when a team's drawing 2,500 at home and they get only a scant share of the revenue when they go on the road.

Personally I'd split the ECHL up into three separate leagues for 2009-10...

ECHL: Elmira, Reading, Trenton, Johnstown, Wheeling, Toledo, Dayton and Cincinnati.

Southern Hockey League (or Confederate League, or whatever): Charlotte, Myrtle Beach, Columbia SC, South Carolina, Gwinnett, Mississippi, Florida, plus moving the Alaska Aces to somewhere in the southern region.

WCHL: Idaho, Utah, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Reno, Stockton, Bakersfield, Ontario CA.

Each of these would have a nice, 8-team circuit with operating and travel expenses that are probably far less than what they have now.

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The addition of the WCHL teams to the ECHL was a bad idea. Great from a marketing perspective in that it's a 'national' league, but bad from an overall business and logistics perspective.

Where in the league's early days you had cities like Johnstown, Dayton, Huntington WV, Erie and the like not only able to compete on the ice but able to break-even if not make a buck, today's ECHL makes it virtually impossible for teams in those cities to be profitable. The southern expansion put the first nail in the coffin for teams such as this, and their continued western growth (yeah, I know, the eastern teams don't play the WCHL teams hardly if at all) has merely compounded the problem. Travel and hotel accommodations cost serious money when a team's drawing 2,500 at home and they get only a scant share of the revenue when they go on the road.

Personally I'd split the ECHL up into three separate leagues for 2009-10...

ECHL: Elmira, Reading, Trenton, Johnstown, Wheeling, Toledo, Dayton and Cincinnati.

Southern Hockey League (or Confederate League, or whatever): Charlotte, Myrtle Beach, Columbia SC, South Carolina, Gwinnett, Mississippi, Florida, plus moving the Alaska Aces to somewhere in the southern region.

WCHL: Idaho, Utah, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Reno, Stockton, Bakersfield, Ontario CA.

Each of these would have a nice, 8-team circuit with operating and travel expenses that are probably far less than what they have now.

STOP.REEL.ALINE.MINT :P

But seriously, this is what hockey used to be. Maybe have some sort of governing board for minor league hockey. Break the ECHL into 3 leagues, maybe move one of the leagues to a Single A hockey league and possibly absorb the SPHL into the Southern Hockey League and keep the SHL to a Single A league. I think having one AAA league is okay, four AA leagues and NHL teams can have a total of 2 AA teams as their affiliate. Have 4 Single A leagues and the same goes for total of 2 AA teams. The more and more teams decide to fall will be the demise of the ECHL. At least the U/IHL got it right by starting over into a 6 team league, granted it wasn't their idea, but right now I haven't seen any mid-season foldings of any of the teams there.

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