Reading, Pa. – The Reading Royals and Philadelphia Flyers jointly announced that they have entered into an affiliation arrangement under which the Royals will receive players designated for assignment within the professional hockey operations development system of the Flyers.
“We’re very excited to announce our new affiliation with the Philadelphia Flyers,” said Royals President Drew Bell. “The Royals are committed to achieving excellence in in all facets our operations, and we’re confident that by joining forces with the Flyers and the Phantoms of the AHL we’re taking a significant positive step in that direction. We see this as a perfect fit for our team, as both organizations have a proven track record of winning and are supported by legendarily passionate fans. We look forward to teaming up with what is unquestionably the region’s premier hockey organization as we all work towards strengthening and growing interest in and support for professional hockey in southeast Pennsylvania.”
“We are pleased to announce an ECHL affiliation agreement with the Reading Royals,” said Flyers’ general manager Ron Hextall. "We’re excited to be entering a new era for the Flyers with respect to player development and look forward to working closely with them in a winning environment. The geographic proximity of our minor league affiliations in the Lehigh Valley and Reading will give our coaches and scouting department the best possible platform to monitor, and promote the growth and advancement of our young prospects.”
“I’m looking forward to working with the Flyers coaching and scouting staffs,” said Royals’ Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Larry Courville. “Our goal in Reading has not changed—to put a championship team on the ice. A big part of our success is linked to having an affiliate who is committed to stocking their minor professional system with young, talented players and getting these players as much game time as possible in the early phases of their career. Of course, I’m sure our fans will enjoy watching the Flyers’ prospects assigned to Reading as they pursue their goal of advancing to the highest level of the game, while helping us achieve our team goal of winning another ECHL championship.”
The Flyers, who joined the NHL as part of the six-team expansion in 1967 and play home games at Wells Fargo Center in south Philadelphia, hold an overall wining percentage of .578, which is second only to the Montreal Canadiens as the best ever in the NHL. The Flyers, who won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and 1975, have qualified for playoffs in 37 of the team’s 46 seasons and have made it to the Stanley Cup Final eight times, most recently in 2010 when the Flyers were defeated by the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Flyers American Hockey League affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, is slated to kick off the team’s first season in Allentown, Pa. this fall. It is expected that the Royals will work closely with the Phantoms with respect to player movement within the Flyers’ minor professional development system. A number of players currently on the Flyers’ roster are products of that system, including goaltender Cal Heeter and forward Jason Akeson, both of whom played for the Trenton Titans of the ECHL in 2012-13.