East Coast Hockey League Now ECHL

Nationwide Presence Modifies Established Name, Logo

PRINCETON, N.J. – The East Coast Hockey League on Monday announced that effective immediately it will simply be known as ECHL.

The change is reflective of the nationwide presence of the ECHL which will continue its role as the leading professional developmental league for the American Hockey League and the National Hockey League.

The ECHL logo will continue to be used, but the words ‘East Coast Hockey League’ will be removed from the top and bottom of the logo given the expanded national footprint with six new teams joining as expansion members from the current West Coast Hockey League.

“The retention of ECHL allows the expanded league to move forward under an identity that is well known within North American hockey circles,” said ECHL President/CEO Brian McKenna. “The continued use of ECHL allows the best of both worlds. ECHL is an existing and recognizable mark by which to brand the expanded league while positioning the league to continue to entertain opportunities with potential naming-rights partners or other alternatives without the confusion of two changes.”

Countless individuals have worked on and off the ice for 15 years to build the ECHL brand which is recognizable throughout the hockey world. The adaptation of corporate acronyms as stand-alone brands is seen both inside and outside of the sports industry, including such recognizable names as ESPN, 3M, MCI, AT&T, and CNN.

In addition to the name modification, the league will incorporate the tag line “America’s Premier AA Hockey League”. The tag line recognizes the national footprint as well as its position as the leader in attracting and developing talent for the AHL and the NHL.

“The addition of the six expansion teams, who just completed their season in the highly-regarded West Coast Hockey League, and the new Las Vegas membership brings strong operators in key Western markets that enhance the image of the expanded league,” said McKenna.

Began in 1988-89 with five teams in three states, the ECHL will play its 16th season in 2003-04 with 32 teams in 18 states playing a record 1,152 games.

The ECHL welcomes nine new markets for 2003-04 with the addition of the Anchorage Aces, the Bakersfield Condors, the Fresno Falcons, the Gwinnett (Georgia) Gladiators, the Idaho (Boise) Steelheads, the Las Vegas Wranglers, the Long Beach Ice Dogs, the San Diego Gulls, and the Texas (Beaumont) Wildcatters.

In 2002-03, the 27 members of the ECHL had affiliations with 24 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League and 22 of the 28 teams in the American Hockey League. There were 90 former ECHL players that played in the NHL in 2002-03, including 20 who made their NHL debut, and there have been 215 former ECHL players that have gone on to play in the NHL. There were more than 80 players in the ECHL on AHL contracts in 2002-03 and the ECHL had 450 call ups to the AHL in 2002-03, more than any other professional league.

The ECHL had 36 former players on the rosters and five former coaches behind the benches of the NHL teams in the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs. There was an ECHL representative on 15 of the 16 teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the only team not having a former ECHL player or coach being Toronto. Peter Laviolette of the New York Islanders began his career with Wheeling in 1997-98 while Bruce Cassidy of the Washington Capitals coached Jacksonville from 1996-98 and Trenton from 1999-2000.

The ECHL was represented by 35 former players in the 2003 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championships in Finland. There were former ECHL players on the rosters of 13 of the 16 teams, including Martin Biron, a member of Canada’s gold medal winner.