PRINCETON, N.J. – The Annual ECHL Board of Governors Meeting was held in Henderson, Nev. on Thursday, June 26, 2009.
The following items were approved by the Board of Governors:
Gwinnett’s Chapman Re-Elected Chairman Of The Board
Steve Chapman of the Gwinnett Gladiators was unanimously re-elected to serve a fourth term as Chairman of the Board of Governors. Chapman was voted ECHL Executive of the Year in 2005 and 2006 becoming the first person in league history to win the award twice.
2009-10 Division Alignment
The Board unanimously approved the realignment of the American Conference into three divisions while the National Conference is unchanged with two divisions.
American Conference – East Division
Elmira Jackals, Johnstown Chiefs, Reading Royals and Trenton Devils
American Conference – North Division
Cincinnati Cyclones, Kalamazoo Wings, Toledo Walleye and Wheeling Nailers
American Conference – South Division
Charlotte Checkers, Florida Everblades, Gwinnett Gladiators and South Carolina Stingrays
National Conference – Pacific Division
Bakersfield Condors, Las Vegas Wranglers, Ontario Reign and Stockton Thunder
National Conference – West Division
Alaska Aces, Idaho Steelheads, Utah Grizzlies and Victoria Salmon Kings
2010 Kelly Cup Playoffs Format Approved
The Board unanimously approved the format for the 2010 Kelly Cup Playoffs as follows:
The conference quarterfinals will be a best-of-five game series with the remaining rounds being best-of-seven game series. The best-of-five series will be a 2-3 format with the higher seed choosing if it wishes to host Games 1-2 or Games 3-5. Teams that are less than 350 miles apart may choose to play a 2-2-1 format.
In the National Conference, postseason berths will be awarded to the first-place team in each division and the next five teams in the conference, based on points. The division winner with the best record in the conference will receive a bye in the first round. The other division winner will be seeded second and meet the team that finishes seventh in the conference in the first round. The other first round matchups will be the third-place finisher in the conference against the sixth-place finisher in the conference and the fourth-place finisher in the conference against the fifth-place finisher in the conference. The conference semifinals will have the first-place finisher meeting the winner of the fourth-place and fifth-place matchup and the winner of the second-place finisher and seventh-place finisher against the winner of the third-place finisher against the sixth-place finisher.
In the American Conference, postseason berths will be awarded to the first-place team in each division and the next five teams in the conference, based on points. The division winners will be seeded first, second and third and will play the eighth-place finisher, the seventh-place finisher and the sixth-place finisher, respectively, while the fourth-place finisher and the fifth-place finisher will meet. The conference semifinals will have the winner of the first-place and eighth-place matchup will meet the winner of the fourth-place and fifth-place game while the winner of the second-place and seventh-place game will face the winner of the third-place and sixth-place matchup.
Expansion Revised, 24-Member Limit
The Board unanimously approved a revision to the expansion policy and voted to limit the number of Memberships to 24 with a priority on adding teams in the south and west. The ECHL will play with 20 teams in 2009-10 and has inactive Memberships in Columbia, South Carolina and Reno, Nevada.
Columbia, Reno Provides Updates
Columbia advised the Board that construction is scheduled to begin this summer on the Lexington County Events Center and that the Inferno plan to return to the ice for the 2010-11 season. The team has retained the nucleus of its staff and plans to increase its preparation for 2010-11 in October.
The Board unanimously approved a request from Reno for a one-year extension to its Home Arena Pending as the ownership group continues its work toward an arena project.
Playoff Roster Revision
The Board unanimously approved the elimination of injured reserve in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Teams will have a maximum roster of 23 players for the postseason with 20 active players and up to three inactive players.
Playing Schedule Committee Formed
The Board voted to form a committee to examine the overall scheduling process. The committee will report to the Board at the Preseason Meeting in September regarding the timing and release of the schedule in coming seasons as well as the criteria to be used in creating the schedule.
Dayton, Mississippi, Myrtle Beach, Phoenix Return Memberships
The ECHL announced that the Memberships for Dayton, Mississippi, Myrtle Beach and Phoenix were relinquished by the respective ownership groups, who had advised the Board in January that they would not compete in 2009-10.
Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
• The ECHL celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08 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 20 teams in 15 states and British Columbia in 2009-10.
• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
• ECHL had affiliations with 24 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League in 2008-09 marking the 12th consecutive year for affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
• 407 former ECHL players have played in NHL.
• 151 former ECHL players have played their first NHL game in the last four seasons.
• Record 52 former ECHL players made their NHL debut in 2008-09 and eight players played in both the ECHL and the NHL: goaltenders Matt Climie (Idaho and Dallas), Riku Helenius (Elmira, Mississippi and Tampa Bay), Michal Neuvirth (South Carolina and Washington) and Marek Schwarz (Alaska and St. Louis), defensemen Wes O’Neill (Johnstown and Colorado), Raymond Macias (Johnstown and Colorado) and Kevin Quick (Augusta, Elmira and Tampa Bay) and right wing Joel Rechlicz (Utah and New York Islanders).
• There were 72 former ECHL players on NHL opening-day rosters.
• ECHL has been represented on last nine Stanley Cup champions including 2009 with Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma, player Ruslan Fedotenko, equipment managers Dana Heinze and Dave Zeigler, athletic trainers Chris Stewart and Scott Adams and scout Derek Clancey.
• Former ECHL coaches working as head coaches in the NHL are Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals and Scott Gordon of the New York Islanders while former ECHL player Dan Bylsma is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Boudreau, who coached Mississippi for three seasons winning the Kelly Cup championship in 1999, was named NHL Coach of the Year in 2007-08 becoming the first former ECHL coach to receive the award. Peter Laviolette, who began his coaching career with the Wheeling Nailers, led Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup in 2006.
• There are 15 assistant coaches in the NHL who were players or coaches in the ECHL.
• Eighteen former ECHL officials worked in the NHL in 2008-09 with referees David Banfield, Chris Ciamaga, Ghislain Hebert, Marc Joannette, Mike Leggo, Wes McCauley, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh and linesmen Steve Barton, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak and Jay Sharrers. Barton, Joannette, Leggo, McCauley, Nowak, Pollock, Rooney and Sharrers all worked the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
• ECHL has affiliations with 23 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League and for the past 20 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.• In the last six seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,500 call-ups involving more than 1,300 players since 2002-03.
• Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.