ECHL Announces Composite Preseason Schedule

PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL on Tuesday announced its composite preseason schedule consisting of 30 games beginning Oct. 10 when Alaska will host Texas, Stockton will travel to Fresno and Youngstown of the Central Hockey League visits Johnstown.

Teams report for training camp on Oct. 4 and on-ice workouts may begin on Oct. 5.

Opening Day for the 20th Anniversary Season is Oct. 18 when the Johnstown Chiefs host the Wheeling Nailers at Cambria County War Memorial. The game will be a rematch of Game 7 from the first-ever ECHL Finals that were played in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Cambria County War Memorial. The two teams will wear special jerseys for the Opening Day game that begins at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast worldwide on B2 Networks, the “Official Broadband Broadcast Provider of the ECHL”.

The remaining teams will open their seasons the weekend of Oct. 19-21 including the Mississippi Sea Wolves, who return after missing two seasons in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the expansion Elmira Jackals. The Sea Wolves have sold the most season tickets ever as fans eagerly anticipate their return to the ice at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum for the first time since Apr. 15, 2005. The newest ECHL member is Elmira which will play its home games at First Arena, a 4,000-seat multi-purpose facility in Downtown Elmira, N.Y.

For the fourth straight year and the 10th time in the last 11 years, the ECHL had more than four million fans attend its games in 2006-07 and averaged 4,101 fans per game. The total attendance for the regular season and the Kelly Cup Playoffs is twice as many fans as the total attendance for the WNBA, Arena Football League and Major League Soccer and four times greater than total attendance for both the National Lacrosse League and af2.

There have been more than 66 million fans who have attended over 15,000 games since the ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in three states. The league has grown into a coast-to-coast league that will have 25 teams playing in 17 states and British Columbia in 2007-08.

For the first time since 1998-99 the ECHL had 10 teams that averaged more than 5,000 fans per game in 2006-07 led by Stockton and Florida, who had the two highest average attendances since 2000-01. Thirteen of the 22 returning teams raised their attendance from 2005-06 as the league had 35 sellouts for the fourth year in a row.

2007 ECHL Preseason Schedule (Start Times are Local)

Wednesday, Oct. 10
Youngstown (CHL) at Johnstown, 7:30 p.m. at Cambria County War Memorial
Texas at Alaska, 7:15 p.m. at Sullivan Arena
Stockton at Fresno, 7 p.m. at Save Mart Center

Thursday, Oct. 11
Texas at Alaska, 7:15 p.m. at Sullivan Arena
Gwinnett at Augusta, 7 p.m. at Augusta Ice Sports Center
Reading at Elmira, 7:05 p.m. at First Arena
Bakersfield at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m. at Orleans Arena

Friday, Oct. 12
Augusta at Columbia, 7:05 p.m. at Carolina Coliseum
Trenton at Elmira, 7:35 p.m. at First Arena
Mississippi (CHL) at Florida, 7:30 p.m. at Germain Arena
Wichita (CHL) at Idaho, 7 p.m. at Manchester Ice and Event Centre in McCall, Idaho
Wheeling at Johnstown, 7:05 p.m. at Kirk Nevin Ice Arena in Greensburgh, Pa.
Charlotte at South Carolina, 7:05 p.m. at Carolina Ice Palace in North Charleston, S.C.
Victoria at Utah, 7:30 p.m. at Park City Ice Arena in Park City, Utah
Cincinnati at Youngstown (CHL), 7 p.m.
Mississippi at Texas (CHL), 7 p.m.
Phoenix at Arizona (CHL), 7:05 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 13
Las Vegas at Bakersfield, 7 p.m. at Rabobank Arena
Columbia at Charlotte, 1 p.m. at Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail, N.C.
Trenton at Elmira, 7:35 p.m. at First Arena
Mississippi (CHL) at Florida, 7:30 p.m. at Germain Arena
Wichita (CHL) at Idaho, 7 p.m. at Manchester Ice and Event Centre in McCall, Idaho
Fresno at Stockton, 7:30 p.m. at Stockton Arena
Victoria at Utah, 7:05 p.m. at Acord Ice Center in West Valley City, Utah
Johnstown at Wheeling, 7:35 p.m. at WesBanco Arena
Mississippi at Austin (CHL), 7:30 p.m.
Phoenix at Arizona (CHL), 7:05 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 14
Cincinnati at Dayton, 7 p.m. at Kettering Recreation Center in Dayton, Ohio
Augusta at South Carolina, 4 p.m. at Carolina Ice Palace in North Charleston, S.C.

Monday, Oct. 15
Elmira at Reading, 7 p.m. at Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex in Wyomissing, Pa.

ECHL
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.

The Stockton Thunder and the City of Stockton will host the 16th Annual ECHL All-Star Game at Stockton Arena on Jan. 23, 2008 and the 11th Annual ECHL All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 22, 2008.

There have been 329 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 47 in 2005-06 and 26 in 2006-07. There have been 184 former ECHL players who have played their first game in the NHL in the past five seasons and 107 former ECHL players have skated in the NHL this season. More than 100 players under contract to NHL teams have played in the ECHL this season. The ECHL had affiliations with 26 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League in 2006-07, marking the 10th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.

The ECHL is represented for the seventh consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team in 2007 with Anaheim assistant coach Dave Farrish, players Francois Beauchemin and George Parros and broadcasters John Ahlers and Steve Carroll.

The ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League in 2006-07 and for the past 17 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion.

In each of the last two seasons there have been more than 225 players who have played in both the ECHL and the AHL and there were over 800 call-ups involving more than 500 players.

In the last five seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,000 call-ups involving more than 1,000 players since 2002-03.

Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.