Idaho Hosts Florida In Kelly Cup Finals Rematch In November
PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL will have 30 teams in 17 states and British Columbia playing 1,080 games in 2004-05. The league, which added nine new markets in 2003-04, welcomes its first team in Canada in 2004-05 with the addition of Victoria, British Columbia. Beginning on October 22 and concluding on April 9, 2005, each of the teams will play a 72-game schedule comprised of 36 home and 36 road games.
The ECHL will open at a later date as a result of the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, which are scheduled to open later because of the World Cup of Hockey. The Premier “AA” Hockey League, the ECHL had affiliation agreements with 21 of the 30 teams in the NHL and 21 of the 28 teams in the AHL in 2003-04.
Division and conference alignments and the format of the 2005 Kelly Cup Playoffs will be announced at a later date.
Opening night on October 22 will have 14 games including the Idaho Steelheads raising Pacific Division Champion, Western Conference Champion and Kelly Cup Champion banners to the rafters in the Bank of America Centre when they host the Alaska Aces in a rematch of the Pacific Division Finals. Victoria will play its first ECHL game when it visits Bakersfield, and the Eastern Conference Champion Florida Everblades will raise their Southern Division Champion and Eastern Conference Champion banners in TECO Arena when they host Texas.
Rivalries will be revisited when Mississippi hosts Louisiana and Trenton hosts Reading while in-state foes meet with Columbia hosting South Carolina, Gwinnett visiting Augusta (Georgia), and Long Beach hosting San Diego (California). The meeting between Columbia and South Carolina will be the first since South Carolina eliminated the defending Southern Conference Champions in the Southern Division Semifinals.
In other opening night match-ups, Las Vegas visits Fresno, Greensboro hosts Atlantic City, Charlotte plays at Greenville, Pee Dee hosts Roanoke, Dayton travels to Peoria, and Toledo hosts Wheeling.
There are 14 games on October 23 including original ECHL member Johnstown opening its 17th season in the league when it hosts Wheeling. In other home openers on October 23, Trenton will play at Reading, who will raise its Northern Conference Champion banner, while Fresno visits San Diego, who will hoist its Brabham Cup Champion banner, and South Carolina will host Charlotte.
There are five home openers on October 29 with Alaska hosting San Diego, Atlantic City hosting Trenton, Dayton hosting Wheeling, Roanoke hosting Augusta and Florida traveling to Gwinnett, who will raise its Central Division Champion banner. The meeting between Alaska and San Diego will be the first since Alaska swept regular season point champion San Diego in the Pacific Division Semifinals.
Three more home openers will be on October 30 with Charlotte hosting Columbia, Texas hosting Louisiana and Pensacola hosting Florida. Las Vegas plays its home opener on November 2 when its hosts Long Beach. Louisiana will play its first home game on November 5 when it hosts Texas.
The first ECHL team outside of the United States, Victoria will play the last home opener of the season on December 5 when it hosts Bakersfield in a rematch of the season opener. Victoria will play at the new Save-On-Food Centre, a $30 million state-of-the-art multipurpose facility with a seating capacity of 7,000. Victoria will head southeast in March to visit Florida for three games on March 15, 25 and 26 while also playing at Texas on March 17, at Louisiana on March 19-20 and at Pensacola on March 22.
It will be a rematch of the Kelly Cup Finals when Florida travels to Idaho for three games on November 10, 12 and 13 as part of a nine-game road trip that also includes a game at San Diego on November 4 and two games at Long Beach on November 5 and 6. The Steelheads will travel south for five games in March visiting Louisiana on March 16 and 18, Texas on March 19 and 20 and Mississippi on March 22. Idaho will visit Las Vegas on November 19 for the first meeting since the Steelheads won three games in a row to eliminate Las Vegas in the Pacific Division Semifinals.
Reading will visit Johnstown on November 5, Wheeling on November 6 and Peoria on November 25. In their first-ever postseason appearance, the Royals won the Northern Division by beating Johnstown in the Wild Card Game, Wheeling in the Semifinals and Peoria in the Finals. Reading will make a six-game swing down south visiting Mississippi on December 28 and 31, Louisiana on December 29, Texas on January 1 and 2 and Pensacola on January 4.
Two teams that Florida eliminated on its way to the Eastern Conference title return to the Sunshine State with the Everblades hosting South Carolina on December 10 and 11 and Roanoke on February 11-12. The meeting with the Express will be the first since the Southern Division Semifinals.
Peoria will host Atlantic City on November 5 in the first game since the Rivermen eliminated the defending Kelly Cup Champions in the Northern Division Semifinals. After hosting Idaho last season, Peoria will ring in the New Year with the Steelheads on December 31 and January 1 before traveling to Fresno on January 4, San Diego on January 5 and Las Vegas on January 7 and 8.
Las Vegas will again play a Midnight Madness game when it hosts Fresno on December 20. The Wranglers make a 10-game road swing that includes Louisiana on November 23, Texas on November 24, Mississippi on November 25, Florida on November 27 and 30 and Pensacola on November 28 before finishing at Alaska on December 3-4 and Idaho on December 10-11.
Mississippi will travel to Victoria for three games on December 10, 11 and 13 and then heads to Alaska for three games on December 17-19.
Greenville will make a five-game trip west visiting Fresno on December 7 and 12, Long Beach on December 10, Bakersfield on December 11, and Las Vegas on December 14.
Alaska will host Wheeling for three games on February 11-13 before traveling east for five games visiting Peoria on February 18, 19 and 24, Dayton on February 20 and Toledo on February 23.
After its three games at Alaska, Wheeling will travel to San Diego on February 16 and Bakersfield on February 17.
Bakersfield will make its trip east in January visiting Roanoke on January 4 and 5, Reading on January 7, Johnstown on January 8, Trenton on January 9 and Atlantic City on January 12.
Fresno travels to Peoria on December 28 and 29, Wheeling on December 31 and January 2 and Johnstown on January 1. Long Beach plays at Trenton on November 23 and 28, at Atlantic City on November 24 and 26 and at Johnstown on November 27.
San Diego has a seven-game road trip east visiting Peoria on January 28, Dayton on January 29, Toledo on January 30 and February 2, Wheeling on February 4, Johnstown on February 5 and Wheeling on February 6.
Louisiana will travel to Charlotte on December 8, to Greensboro for two games on January 10-11 and to Roanoke for two games on December 12 and 14.
Toledo will make a trip to Nevada and California visiting Las Vegas for three games on November 5-6 and 13, Fresno on November 9 and Bakersfield on November 11 and 12. Gwinnett travels to California for five games in March visiting Fresno on March 22, Long Beach on March 23, Bakersfield on March 25 and 26 and San Diego on March 27.
Hosted by the Reading Royals at the 7,215-seat Sovereign Center, the 2005 ECHL All-Star Game will be played on January 26 and the All-Star Skills Competition will be held on January 25.
2004-05 ECHL Home Openers
October 29 vs. San Diego Gulls
Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies
October 29 vs. Trenton Titans
October 22 vs. Gwinnett Gladiators
October 22 vs. Victoria
October 30 vs. Columbia Inferno
October 22 vs. South Carolina Stingrays
October 29 vs. Wheeling Nailers
October 22 vs. Texas Wildcatters
October 22 vs. Las Vegas Wranglers
October 22 vs. Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies
October 22 vs. Charlotte Checkers
October 29 vs. Florida Everblades
October 22 vs. Alaska Aces
October 23 vs. Wheeling Nailers
Las Vegas Wranglers
November 2 vs. Long Beach Ice Dogs
Long Beach Ice Dogs
October 22 vs. San Diego Gulls
November 5 vs. Texas Wildcatters
Mississippi Sea Wolves
October 22 vs. Louisiana IceGators
Pee Dee Pride
October 22 vs. Roanoke Express
Pensacola Ice Pilots
October 30 vs. Florida Everblades
October 22 vs. Dayton Bombers
October 23 vs. Trenton Titans
October 29 vs. Augusta Lynx
San Diego Gulls
October 23 vs. Fresno Falcons
South Carolina Stingrays
October 23 vs. Charlotte Checkers
October 30 vs. Louisiana IceGators
October 22 vs. Wheeling Nailers
October 22 vs. Reading Royals
December 5 vs. Bakersfield Condors
October 30 vs. Toledo Storm
A text version of the league schedule and text versions of individual team schedules are available by clicking the links below.