The ECHL announced on Tuesday that the Board of Governors has approved the Expansion Membership application of the Indianapolis Fuel for admission to the ECHL.
Indianapolis will begin play in October 2014 when the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League opens its 27th season, making it the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.
With the addition of Indianapolis, the ECHL will welcome 23 teams for the 2014-15 season.
Indianapolis will play its home games at the Fairgrounds Coliseum, a 6,145-seat building located on the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The Coliseum was originally constructed in 1939, and is currently in the midst of a major renovation which began on Oct. 29, 2012. The renovations include a two-level seating bowl, a new video scoreboard and a state-of-the-art sound system.
“We are proud to welcome Indianapolis as the newest Member of the ECHL,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “The city has a rich hockey tradition and is an ideal addition to our mid-west geography. I would like to thank the Indiana State Fairgrounds Commission and Jim Hallett and his team for their tireless efforts to make this a reality.”
“We’re proud to unveil Indianapolis’ newest professional team – the Indy Fuel,” said Fuel President and CEO Sean Hallett. “We look forward to giving Hoosiers great hockey and a new choice for family entertainment. Every winning tradition starts somewhere, and we’re starting today.”
“I grew up playing hockey on frozen ponds and never lost my love of the sport,” said Fuel owner Jim Hallett. “I’ve also spent nearly 20 years here in the Midwest, and I’ve seen how sports bring a community to life – especially in Indianapolis. I want to feed the passion for hockey that’s already here, introduce more Hoosiers to it and leave this team as a civic legacy to Central Indiana.”
“This is the most important capital project in the history of the State Fairgrounds, renovating the Coliseum to be a premier venue for sports, entertainment and Fair festivities – hopefully for another 75 years or more,” said Andre Lacy, chair of the Indiana State Fairgrounds Commission. “We’re very proud to welcome the Indy Fuel as the Coliseum’s anchor tenant.”
For more information, including on how to purchase tickets, visit IndyFuelHockey.com. Fans can get a sneak preview of the Coliseum renovation at http://www.in.gov/statefair/fairgrounds/venues/coliseum.html.
Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
• Watch games live on America ONE Sports, the “Official Broadband & Mobile Broadcaster” of the ECHL.
• The ECHL celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2012-13 and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.
• ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league with 22 teams in 15 states in 2013-14.
• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
• 522 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 22 in 2012-13.
• 10 ECHL players have made their NHL debuts in 2013-14: former Reading Royals Will Acton (Edmonton on Oct. 1), former Kalamazoo Wings left wing Darren Archibald (Vancouver on Oct. 25), former Colorado Eagles defensemen Ben Chiarot (Winnipeg on Nov. 2) former San Francisco Bulls left wing Jamie Devane (Toronto on Oct. 5), former Idaho Steelheads left wing Luke Gazdic (Edmonton on Oct. 1), former Toledo Walleye center Luke Glendening (Detroit on Oct. 12), former Cincinnati Cyclones goaltender Magnus Hellberg (Nashville on Oct. 26), former Wheeling Nailers center Zach Sill (Pittsburgh on Nov. 16), former Greenville Road Warriors goaltender Cam Talbot (New York Rangers on Oct. 24) and former Ontario Reign goaltender Jeff Zatkoff (Pittsburgh on Oct. 11).
• The ECHL has had 330 players reach the NHL since 2002-03 when it changed its focus to become the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. The ECHL had 97 players reach the NHL in its first 10 seasons and 215 in the first 15 years.
• 266 ECHL players have played their first game in the last nine seasons for an average of more than 29 per year.
• ECHL had a record 93 players on NHL opening-day rosters in 2013-14, surpassing the 87 from 2012-13 and marking the 11th year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.
• ECHL has affiliations with 27 of the 30 NHL teams in 2013-14, marking the 17th consecutive season that the league has affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
• 30 coaches with an ECHL background are working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma, New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, Florida Panthers interim head coach Peter Horachek and Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel. It is the ninth consecutive season that there have been 11 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL.
• 27 former ECHL officials are scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2013-14 with referees Darcy Burchell, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Mike Leggo, Dave Lewis, T.J. Luxmore, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Graham Skilliter, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.
• ECHL was represented for the 13th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion in 2013 with Chicago Blackhaws assistant coach Jamie Kompon, players Sheldon Brookbank and Daniel Carcillo, vice president/assistant to the president Al MacIsaac, director of pro scouting Ryan Stewart and general manager of minor league affiliations Mark Bernard. The ECHL was represented by 53 former players and 18 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the eighth year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the 10th consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.
• Former ECHL broadcasters working in the NHL include John Ahlers and Steve Carroll of the Anaheim Ducks, Dave Goucher of the Boston Bruins, Chris Kerber of the St. Louis Blues, Jack Michaels of the Edmonton Oilers, Dave Mishkin of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Bob McElligott of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
• Ryan Stanzel and Jeremy Zager, who were both recipients of the ECHL Media Relations Director of the Year award, are working in the communications department for the Minnesota Wild and the Los Angeles Kings, respectively. Former ECHL assistant director of communications Joe Siville works in the communications department for the Philadelphia Flyers.
• In the last nine seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined 4,000 with over call-ups involving more than 2,100 players and in 2012-13 there were 10 times as many call-ups from the ECHL to the AHL than all other professional leagues.
• The ECHL averaged 4,695 fans per game in 2012-13, the highest single-season average since 1999-2000, and marking the ninth consecutive season and the 21st time in the last 23 years that the ECHL has averaged over 4,000 fans.