Dear ECHL Fans,
I am pleased to officially welcome you to another season of exciting ECHL hockey. We are fortunate to be in many great cities with modern arenas with teams prepared to deliver an outstanding hockey product.
During the 2012-13 season, the ECHL experienced its highest average per-game attendance since 1999-2000. As the economy continues to improve, the ECHL is well positioned to provide outstanding entertainment value for our fan base.
In addition to providing affordable family entertainment to more than 87 million fans since it began, ECHL teams have become an important part of their communities by donating more than $27 million and countless hours to charity the last seven years.
The ECHL has become an integral part of the professional hockey player development process as 512 players have gone on to play in the NHL after the ECHL including 22 in 2012-13. In addition to these players, countless officials, coaches and front office staff have moved on to the AHL and NHL. For the 2013-14 season, 10 of the 30 AHL head coaches and almost one quarter of the head coaches in the NHL have ECHL ties.
Since it began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the league has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 22 teams in 15 states in 2013-14.
We congratulate the Reading Royals on winning their first Kelly Cup championship, defeating the Stockton Thunder 4 games to 1 in the 2013 Kelly Cup Finals.
The ECHL has been represented on the last 13 Stanley Cup champions including in 2013 with Chicago 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 had affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the NHL in 2012-13, marking the 16th consecutive year for affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. For the 24th season in a row, the ECHL was represented on the AHL champion with six players on the Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins.
Thank you on behalf of the ECHL and its teams for your continued support and we hope that you and your family enjoy following your favorite team through what promises to be a fantastic 26th season of ECHL hockey.