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ECHL adds new expansion team in Colorado

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Board of Governors approves expansion membership for Colorado

May 31, 2011

PRINCETON, N.J. ? The ECHL announced that the Board of Governors has approved the Expansion Membership application of the Colorado Eagles for admission to the ECHL. The addition of the Eagles will expand the League to 20 teams for the 2011-12 season.

Colorado will begin play in October when the Premier ?AA? Hockey League will celebrate its 24th season, making it the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.

Colorado plays its home games at the Budweiser Events Center, a 5,289-seat building located in Loveland, Colorado, which opened in 2003. Colorado has been a member of the Central Hockey League since the 2003-04 season, and has sold out every regular season and playoff game in team history. The team?s 311 consecutive sellouts is an all-time record for minor league professional hockey.

The Eagles have advanced to the postseason in each of their eight seasons, winning Central Hockey League championships in 2004-05 and 2006-07 and advancing to the league finals in 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11. The organization has donated over $1 million to the Northern Colorado community since its inception through the Colorado Eagles foundation.

?We are pleased to welcome the Colorado Eagles to the ECHL,? said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. ?The Eagles strong fan support, community involvement and history of on-ice success make them an excellent addition to our Western Conference. Team ownership and management have built an exceptional brand and business organization over the past decade. We are proud to have them as the newest Member of the ECHL.?

?We've enjoyed our time and many successes in the Central Hockey League,? said Eagles President Chris Stewart. ?In fact, they're the impetus that's allowed us to be granted a spot in the ECHL. The Central Hockey League has helped us form the strong foundation that is allowing us to take this next step as an organization.

?With that being said, this move is something we believe we're ready to make as an organization,? continued Stewart. ?We're energized by the challenges that the ECHL will present, and are confident we'll be able to continue to be successful at the higher level.?

?This move will only bring bigger and better things to our fans, corporate partners and the Northern Colorado community as a whole,? said Eagles CEO Martin Lind. ?Thanks to all of them, and the support of our ownership group, the Colorado Eagles' business model has proven to be unequivocally successful at the CHL level. We can't wait to try and match that success in the ECHL, and I have all the confidence in the world that the Northern Colorado community will continue to help us do so.?

With the addition of Colorado and the Chicago Express, who were announced as an expansion membership last summer, the ECHL will play with 20 teams in 2011-12, an increase from 19 in the 2010-11 season. The ECHL Board of Governors unanimously approved the withdrawal of the Victoria Salmon Kings membership last month.

ECHL Expansion

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So 1 year after ingesting the not-IHL virus, the CHL is now exploding?

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Good for the Eagles and Loveland (that whole area up that way is beautiful, just stay away from Greeley). Very successful CeHL franchise that deserves a call to the "bigs".

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Looks like they are keeping the CeHL identity package, at least so far.

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Would have loved for them to become the Colorado Gold Kings to appease the three of us who are aware of the history of the WCHL.^_^

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So 1 year after ingesting the not-IHL virus, the CHL is now exploding?

yup, most of the squads are either sticking around for one more season or jumping to other leagues, the CeHL is a huge mess right now.

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Would it be safe to assume the Central Hockey League might go poof soon??

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Would it be safe to assume the Central Hockey League might go poof soon??

I would think so, eventually places like Rapid City, Missouri & other may go to the E, Bossier is rumored to either disappear or go to the SPHL & other squads like Rio Grande, may not exist. The final rumor is Ft.Wayne's owner starting their own "league"... From what I've read on the HFBoards

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Would it be safe to assume the Central Hockey League might go poof soon??

I would think so, eventually places like Rapid City, Missouri & other may go to the E, Bossier is rumored to either disappear or go to the SPHL & other squads like Rio Grande, may not exist. The final rumor is Ft.Wayne's owner starting their own "league"... From what I've read on the HFBoards

I did read about Rapid City and Missouri and others.. ahh.. Bossier to the SPHL will be ideal somehow... but teh fort wayne owner starting up a league?? I call bullcrap on that as I dont think it would work well again...

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I would think so, eventually places like Rapid City, Missouri & other may go to the E, Bossier is rumored to either disappear or go to the SPHL & other squads like Rio Grande, may not exist. The final rumor is Ft.Wayne's owner starting their own "league"... From what I've read on the HFBoards

He can call it the IHL, and name the championship trophy the Turner Cup, and funnel money to the other franchises in the league to keep them afloat and be patsies for the Komets, and hey wait a second this sounds familiar.

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I would think so, eventually places like Rapid City, Missouri & other may go to the E, Bossier is rumored to either disappear or go to the SPHL & other squads like Rio Grande, may not exist. The final rumor is Ft.Wayne's owner starting their own "league"... From what I've read on the HFBoards

He can call it the IHL, and name the championship trophy the Turner Cup, and funnel money to the other franchises in the league to keep them afloat and be patsies for the Komets, and hey wait a second this sounds familiar.

ding ding ding, the Frankes know that if they joined a legit league, Ft. Wayne would be eaten alive. They have the fanbase, but they wouldn't have the leverage like they do now.

Update: btw, you know your league is in trouble when the champions don't know if they're returning & your coach resigns right after....

http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20110530/SPORTS0303/105300324/Celebrating-Cup

Edited by rvrdgsfn

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I'm wondering if this may lead to the ECHL expanding by even more than 20 teams for next season. I'm kind of hoping so.

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Y'know, I come here to forget about work and I see this?

Thanks, guys.

But seriously, this is a huge loss for the CeHL. The Eagles were the top team, and this also geographically isolates Rapid City and Arizona even more. One positive is this might help competitive balance in the CeHL, but that's the only positive I see for that league. Things are quite messy.

The league has implemented a luxury tax of sorts to keep the low-revenue teams from bolting or going dark. It might not matter for some, though.

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Some of these CHL franchises would be smart to move to junior hockey. The NAHL would be a great fit for a lot of them...

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ECHL is down to 20 teams? Wow. They've been off my personal radar for a few years now, but apparently I'm not the only one.

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Reno was supposed to have an ECHL team by now, but there is still no building for them to play in.

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Mudbugs are done... Win the championship, out of the league :unsure:

http://shreveporttimes.com/article/20110609/SPORTS0303/110609023/Mudbugs-owner-We-re-done-?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

Despite RGV getting new owners & a last minute attempt to get a team in Quad City, I think things don't look good. I think next season (if they have one) is it for the CeHL.

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This is really sad news for the CeHL. I've been a fan of the Brahmas since they gave away tickets to kids for good grades when I was in elementary school. Hopefully they will find a way to stay in a strengthening CeHL or move to a stronger league (ECHL, maybe SPHL). Juniors wouldn't cut it for me.

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