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Logo of the ECHL

Current season ECHL 2019/20
sport ice Hockey
League foundation 1988
Teams 26th
Country countries United StatesUnited States United States Canada
Title holder Newfoundland Growlers
Record champions Alaska Aces
Hampton Roads Admirals
South Carolina Stingrays (3 each)
^ American Hockey League

The ECHL ( East Coast Hockey League until May 2003 ) is a professional ice hockey league made up of 26 teams, 24 of which are based in the United States and two in Canada . The winner of the play-offs in the ECHL receives the Kelly Cup , which was called the Riley Cup until 1997 . The league operated under the name East Coast Hockey League until May 2003 , but has been officially limited to the abbreviated version since the takeover of the West Coast Hockey League .


Beginnings (1988-2014)

The ECHL teams since the 2019/20 season. Points of the same color correspond to the division into a division. The small map shows Newfoundland.

The league was founded in 1988 with five teams, the Carolina Thunderbirds (now the Wheeling Nailers ), the Erie Panthers (the team no longer exists and last played as the Victoria Salmon Kings in 2011 ), the Johnstown Chiefs , the Knoxville Cherokees (the team does not exist more and last played in 2005 as Pee Dee Pride ), and the Virginia Lancers (the team no longer exists and last played as Lexington Men O'War in 2003 ). Since that time, the league has grown steadily, until 2003 the size of 31 teams had been reached. After that, the league was reduced to 28 teams for the 2004/05 season.

In 2002 the ECHL took on the teams of the West Coast Hockey League Alaska, Bakersfield, Fresno, Idaho, Long Beach and San Diego and since then has had two conferences with two divisions each . The official name was subsequently changed from the East Coast Hockey League to ECHL. In 2004, the ECHL took on their first Canadian team, the Victoria Salmon Kings from Victoria , British Columbia . On February 1, 2005 it was announced that a new franchise called Phoenix RoadRunners would start operating in the league from 2005/06. It was also announced on February 3, 2005 that the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies had been sold to a company that relocated the team to Stockton, California for the 2005/06 season.

The current structure of the ECHL was introduced in 2010: the Eastern Conference has since consisted of the Atlantic , North and South divisions with a total of 13 teams, while the Western Conference eight teams are divided between the Pacific and Mountain Divisions . With the elimination of the Victoria Salmon Kings , the ECHL has only consisted of teams from the United States since the end of the 2010/11 season. Further changes in the field of participants followed in the next few years: Chicago Express , the Colorado Eagles , the Orlando Solar Bears and the Fort Wayne Komets were added; the Trenton Titans and the San Francisco Bulls were also included, but left the league again in the 2013/14 season, so that 21 teams took part in the game.

Restructuring (since 2014)

The Indy Fuel was added as planned for the 2014/15 season . In October 2014, three teams of the Central Hockey League (CHL) stopped playing, so that this league only consisted of seven teams. As a result, the CHL was completely discontinued and the seven remaining teams were transferred to the ECHL. These were the Allen Americans , Brampton Beast , Quad City Mallards , Missouri Mavericks , Rapid City Rush , Tulsa Oilers and Wichita Thunder . Thus, the league consisted of 28 teams in the 2014/15 season, as the Las Vegas Wranglers paused to find a new venue, which subsequently failed.

This unplanned expansion also resulted in a restructuring, so that in the Eastern Conference the South , Atlantic and North Divisions were merged into North and East Divisions . In the Western Conference, the Mountain Division was renamed the Central Division , which now includes all teams from the former CHL. The best four teams in each division have now qualified for the playoffs. In the first two playoff rounds teams from the respective division competed against each other, with first place playing against third place and second against fourth place. The division winners determined in the second round then play against the winner of the other division of the same conference, so that the two conference winners compete against each other in the final of the Kelly Cup. All playoff games are played in best-of-seven mode, so that the team that wins four first moves on to the next round.

After just one season in this constellation, another major change was necessary, as the American Hockey League also restructured for the 2015/16 season and introduced a new Pacific Division . As a result, several ECHL teams swapped venues and the league with the AHL franchises; in detail, the Stockton Thunder became the Adirondack Thunder , the Bakersfield Condors became the Norfolk Admirals and the Ontario Reign became the Manchester Monarchs . This also resulted in another change in the divisional structure, so that the ECHL established six divisions in both conferences with four or five teams each. The first division in each division and the five other teams with the highest points in each conference now qualify for the playoffs. Furthermore, a number of collaborations between ECHL and AHL and NHL changed again. Apart from this restructuring, two more teams changed their names in the run-up to the 2015/16 season, with the franchise remaining in the same place. The Greenville Road Runners now operate as Greenville Swamp Rabbits , while the Gwinnett Gladiators changed their name to Atlanta Gladiators . With the 2016/17 season , however, they returned to a system with four divisions, with the four best teams qualifying for the playoffs.

During the 2015/16 season, the Evansville IceMen were unable to agree on a new lease for their home ground, so the team moved to Jacksonville , Florida and started playing as Jacksonville Icemen from the 2017/18 season. At the same time, the Worcester Railers joined the league as a new franchise. The Maine Mariners and Newfoundland Growlers followed in the 2018/19 season , while the Colorado Eagles moved to the AHL and the Quad City Mallards ceased playing. Like the Mallards, the Manchester monarchs fared the following year.

Franchises for the 2019/20 season

Eastern Conference

Surname Location Stadion NHL partner AHL partner
North Division
Adirondack Thunder Glens Falls , New York Cool Insuring Arena New Jersey Devils Binghamton Devils
Brampton Beast Brampton , Ontario , Canada CAA Center Ottawa Senators Belleville Senators
Maine Mariners Portland , Maine Cross Insurance Arena New York Rangers Hartford Wolf Pack
Newfoundland Growlers St. John's , Newfoundland and Labrador Mile One Center Toronto Maple Leafs Toronto Marlies
Reading Royals Reading , Pennsylvania Santander Arena Philadelphia Flyers Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Worcester Railers Worcester , Massachusetts DCU Center New York Islanders Bridgeport Sound Tigers
South Division
Atlanta Gladiators Duluth , Georgia Infinite Energy Arena Boston Bruins Providence Bruins
Florida Everblades Estero , Florida Hertz Arena Nashville Predators Milwaukee Admirals
Greenville Swamp Rabbits Greenville , South Carolina Bon Secours Wellness Arena Carolina Hurricanes Charlotte Checkers
Jacksonville Icemen Jacksonville , Florida Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena Winnipeg Jets Manitoba mosses
Norfolk Admirals Norfolk , Virginia Norfolk Scope - -
Orlando Solar Bears Orlando , Florida Amway Center Tampa Bay Lightning Syracuse crunch
South Carolina Stingrays North Charleston , South Carolina North Charleston Coliseum Washington Capitals Hershey Bears

Western Conference

Surname Location Stadion NHL partner AHL partner
Central Division
Cincinnati Cyclones Cincinnati , Ohio Heritage Bank Center Buffalo Sabers Rochester Americans
Fort Wayne Comet Fort Wayne , Indiana Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Vegas Golden Knights Chicago Wolves
Indy Fuel Indianapolis , Indiana Indiana Farmers Coliseum Chicago Blackhawks Rockford IceHogs
Kalamazoo Wings Kalamazoo , Michigan Wings Event Center Vancouver Canucks Utica Comets
Toledo Walleye Toledo , Ohio Huntington Center Detroit Red Wings Grand Rapids Griffins
Wheeling Nailers Wheeling , West Virginia WesBanco Arena Pittsburgh Penguins Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins
Mountain Division
All Americans Allen , Texas All event centers Minnesota Wild Iowa Wild
Idaho steelheads Boise , Idaho CenturyLink Arena Dallas Stars Texas Stars
Kansas City Mavericks Independence , Missouri Silverstein Eye Centers Arena Calgary Flames Stockton Heat
Rapid City Rush Rapid City , South Dakota Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Arizona Coyotes Tucson Roadrunners
Tulsa Oilers Tulsa , Oklahoma BOK Center St. Louis Blues San Antonio Rampage
Utah grizzlies West Valley City , Utah Maverik Center Colorado Avalanche Colorado Eagles
Wichita Thunder Wichita , Kansas Intrust Bank Arena Edmonton Oilers Bakersfield Condors

No longer existing teams

Unrealized franchises

  • Gulf Coast Swords
    • The franchise should start operating in 2004. However, as the construction of the Lakewood Arena in Bradenton in the US state of Florida was delayed for years, the ECHL decided to dissolve the franchise in September 2006.

Awards and trophies

Team trophies
Surname Reason for award Award Record winner
Kelly Cup
  • Kelly Cup Playoff Winner
since 1997
EA "Bud" Gingher Memorial Trophy
  • Best playoff team in the Eastern Conference
  • Eastern Conference Final Winner
since 1998
Bruce Taylor Trophy
  • Best playoff team in the Western Conference
  • Winner of the Western Conference Final
since 1998
Henry Brabham Cup
  • Best points team in the regular season
since 1989
Player and coach trophies
Surname Reason for award Award Record winner
ECHL Most Valuable Player since 1989
Kelly Cup Playoffs Most Valuable Player
  • Most valuable player in the playoffs
since 1989
ECHL Goaltender of the Year
  • Best goalkeeper of the regular season
since 1994
ECHL Defenseman of the Year
  • Best Regular Season Defender
since 1989
ECHL Rookie of the Year since 1989
  • The trophy can only be won once in a career
ECHL leading scorer since 1989
ECHL Plus Performer Award
  • Best player in the plus / minus rating of the regular season
since 2000
  • no multiple winners
ECHL Sportsmanship Award
  • High sporting standard and exemplary behavior
since 1997
John Brophy Award
  • Best coach of the season
since 1989
Other trophies
Surname Reason for award Award Record winner
ECHL General Manager of the Year Award since 2016
  • no multiple winners

ECHL All-Star Game

The first All-Star Game of the East Coast Hockey League took place in the 1992/93 season. Since then, taking into account the variable format, players from the two ECHL Conferences have usually competed against each other every year (with the exception of 1997, 1998 and 2011). The starting formations of the two teams are chosen by players, coaches and officials before the All-Star Game by means of voting. The coaches are usually the head coaches of the two teams who, at the time of the announcement of the two all-star teams, lead the respective conference with their teams. As with the NHL All-Star Game and the AHL All-Star Classic , the ECHL All-Star Game also has a skill competition before the game.

Hall of Fame

year Surname function
2008 Henry Brabham ECHL founder
Patrick J. Kelly official
Chris Valicevic player
Nick Vitucci player
2009 John Brophy Trainer
Blake Cullen Team owner
Tom Nemeth player
Rod Taylor player
2010 Cam Brown player
EA "Bud" Gingher Team owner
Olaf Koelzig player
Darryl Noren player
2011 Richard Adams ECHL President
Phil Berger player
Luke Curtin player
Joe Ernst referee
year Surname function
2012 Bill Coffey Team owner
Sheldon Gorski player
John Marks Trainer
Dave Seitz player
Bob Woods player
2013 David Craievich player
Marc Magliarditi player
Steve Poapst player
Darren Schwartz player
2014 James Edwards official
Wes Goldie player
Al MacIsaac Player, official & coach
John Spoltore player
2015 Darren Colbourne player
Louis Dumont player
Scott Sabatino official
Carl Scheer official
year Surname function
2016 Daniel Berthiaume player
Craig Brush official
Allan Sirois player
2017 T. Paul Hendrick official
Rick Kowalsky player
Brad Phillips Linesman
2018 Steve Chapman official
Sam Ftorek player
Jason Hall player
2019 Jim Bermingham player
Alex Hicks player
Rick Judson player
Brian McKenna official
2020 Jared Bednar Player / coach
Dany Bousquet player
Derek Clancey player
Glen Metropolitan player

On the 20th anniversary of the founding of the ECHL, the league introduced its own Hall of Fame in 2008, similar to the Hockey Hall of Fame of the National Hockey League . The first four individuals were under the in the Stockton Arena in Stockton in the state of California held ECHL All-Star Game added the 2007/08 season in the Hall of Fame. In future, a maximum of five personalities (of which a maximum of three players) can be inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame per year.

The most prominent member of the Hall of Fame has been the German goalkeeper Olaf Kölzig since 2010 .

ECHL logos

Web links

Commons : ECHL  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1., Frequently Asked Questions