Now that hockey season is wrapping up, the “minor league silly season” begins. Who will be back in the CHL? Will all 30 AHL remain in their current markets? What of the ECHL? It happens every year.
The Central Hockey League struggled this past season. Sure, there was the success story of the Missouri Mavericks (ranked #2 in the CHL and #17 in all of minor pro hockey) and success of the Colorado, Wichita, Fort Wayne franchises. But, the franchises in Texas and the South struggled mightily.
Quad Cities and Odessa won’t be back (both averaged less than 3,000 fans per game).
You know, maybe the Mavericks should step up to the ECHL like the Colorado Eagles seem to be doing. Not that the CHL product is terrible. It’s better than I thought. Global Entertainment is terrible. Global Entertainment operates the CHL.
It just seems like hockey is moving closer and closer to being like baseball — where each franchise has a AAA affiliate and a AA affiliate.
AHL (30 teams) = each team affiliated with an NHL team
ECHL (19 teams) = all teams affiliated with at least one NHL team — some more than one.
Why won’t the ECHL gobble up teams that are relatively successful in their minor pro markets? Colorado, Kansas City, Rapid City, possibly others?
Well, Global Entertainment may be a junk stock worth 5 cents a share and lost money the last couple of years. But, they had the forethought to force teams to stay in their league for 10 years. Ugh.
Colorado has been in long enough and is now distancing themselves from Global by getting out of the leauge. Odessa is close enough to 10 years they can just leave and are.
So, the big hurdle is paying off Global and paying to get into the ECHL. Not going to happen with our Lubbock-based owners.
The ECHL is expanding and getting closer to the 1-to-1 relationship with the AHL.
There is already going to be an ECHL team outside Chicago in Hoffman Estates.
and another proposed for the DC area out by Dulles Airport.
The ECHL is losing a team. The Victoria, BC team is being kicked out of their arena for a Western Hockey League team (Candian Major Junior)
Too bad. Imagine, KC could be in a division with Cincinnati, Chicago, Colorado, Kalamazoo and Utah. Sound familiar Blades fans? Weren’t those rivalries, along with Indianapolis great? Especially when Madill came to town with the Cyclones or Grizzlies. How I loved to hate Gord Dineen and Todd Simon.
The Blues current ECHL affiliate is Anchorage Alaska. KC seems better, doesn’t it?
By the way, the ECHL’s average attendance outpaces the CHL by about 400 per game and is about 1,000 less than the AHL.