PRINCETON, N.J. – Welcoming the Phoenix Roadrunners, the Stockton Thunder and the Utah Grizzlies, the ECHL will have 27 teams in 16 states and British Columbia playing 972 games, beginning October 21 and ending April 8.
The division and conference alignments and the format for the 2006 Kelly Cup Playoffs will be announced following the Annual Board of Governors Meeting on June 21-22.
The Premier “AA” Hockey League, the ECHL had affiliations with 23 of the 28 teams in the American Hockey League in 2004-05 and for the 16th consecutive season the Calder Cup Champion had former ECHL players on it. The ECHL had affiliations with 23 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League and there were more than 100 players who played in the ECHL in 2004-05 who were under contract to NHL team.
The league opens its 18th season on October 21 with nine games, including the newest member, the Utah Grizzlies, playing its first ECHL game when it hosts the Las Vegas Wranglers at The “E” Center. The Alaska Aces will celebrate their regular season division and conference titles and their postseason division title when they host the San Diego Gulls. Ted Dent will make his debut as a head coach when Columbia celebrates another regular season division title as it hosts in-state rival Greenville while Gwinnett hosts Charlotte in a rematch of the conference semifinals, which the Checkers won in four games. For the second year in a row, Florida will celebrate division and conference titles when it hosts Texas while Idaho hosts Long Beach in a division semifinals rematch. Longtime Ohio rivals Dayton and Toledo will meet at the historic Toledo Sports Arena while Victoria visits Fresno and its new coach Matt Thomas. The final opening night match-up has South Carolina traveling to Augusta under the new leadership of Bob Ferguson.
October 22 has a full schedule of 13 games, including the Trenton Titans raising their division, conference and Kelly Cup Championship banners at the Sovereign Bank Arena when they host the Wheeling Nailers. The Phoenix Roadrunners will play their first ECHL game when Utah visits America West Arena and Stockton takes the ice for the first time when the Thunder visits Fresno. Victoria travels to Bakersfield and the battle of Ohio continues with Toledo visiting Dayton while another set of in-state rivals get reacquainted when the Columbia Inferno visits the South Carolina Stingrays. Pensacola will celebrate winning the Brabham Cup while also showing off its new logo and uniforms when it hosts longtime rival Mississippi at the Pensacola Civic Center. Johnstown will open its 18th consecutive season in the ECHL when it hosts Reading while Greenville hosts Charlotte. In other games, Alaska hosts San Diego, Texas plays at Florida, Long Beach visits Idaho and Gwinnett travels to Augusta.
There are three home openers on October 28 with Long Beach hosting Fresno, Wheeling hosting Reading and Texas hosting Mississippi. Reading will celebrate its regular season division title when it hosts Trenton, which beat the Royals in the division finals, on October 29. The other home opener on October 29 has Mississippi visiting Texas and its new coach Tony MacAulay at Ford Arena.
San Diego hosts Stockton in the Gulls home opener on November 5 while the Charlotte Checkers move downtown when they play their first home game on November 6, hosting Greenville at the New Charlotte Arena. Victoria plays its first-ever game at the new Save-On-Foods Centre when it hosts Stockton on November 10 while the Thunder will open the new Stockton Arena on December 3 when they host Fresno.
Las Vegas will play its Third-Annual Midnight Holiday Roundup on December 19, the only professional hockey team to play at midnight, a tradition that began on December 22, 2003. The Wranglers will play at Toledo on December 9 and 10, Wheeling on December 11 and Reading on December 13.
Alaska, Bakersfield, Phoenix and San Diego will all travel along the I-10 corridor to visit Mississippi, Pensacola and Texas. The Aces play at Texas on November 4 and 11, at Mississippi on November 5 and at Pensacola on November 8 while the Condors play at Mississippi on December 2, at Texas on December 3 and 4 and at Pensacola on December 6. The Roadrunners visit Mississippi on January 31, Pensacola on February 3 and Texas on February 4 and 5 while the Gulls travel to Pensacola on December 16 and 20 and to Texas on December 17 and 18.
Fresno travels to the northeast in December, visiting Johnstown on December 16, Reading on December 17 and 18 before ending the trip on December 21 at defending champion Trenton. One of the newest members, Stockton, will visit one of the league’s original members, Johnstown, on November 16 to open a road swing that takes the Thunder to Toledo on November 18 and to Dayton on November 19 and 20.
For the second season in a row, the 2004 Kelly Cup finalists will play a three-game series when Idaho visits Florida on February 1, 3 and 4. The Steelheads beat Florida in five games to win the title in 2004 and won two of the three games when the Everblades visited Idaho last November.
Las Vegas will visit Toledo on December 9-10, Wheeling on December 11 and Reading on December 13 while Long Beach plays at Trenton on December 7, at Dayton on December 9 and at Reading on December 10 and 11. Victoria makes a four-game swing through the north when it visits Trenton on November 2, Dayton on November 4, Toledo on November 5 and Wheeling on November 6.
Augusta will visit Victoria on February 1, 3 and 4 while Dayton plays at Bakersfield on March 1, at Fresno on March 3 and 7, at Stockton on March 4 and 5 and at San Diego on March 8. Florida heads to California after New Year’s, visiting Fresno on January 10 and 17, Stockton on January 13 and 14 and Bakersfield on January 15.
One of the original five members when the ECHL began in 1988-89, Johnstown will travels west after Thanksgiving as the Chiefs visit Las Vegas on November 29 and December 6, Bakersfield on November 30, Fresno on December 2 and San Diego on December 3 and 4.
Mississippi travels to San Diego on November 16 and 18 and visits Bakersfield on November 17 while Texas makes a six-game road swing to the west in February, playing at Las Vegas on February 7, 10 and 14, at Stockton on February 8, at San Diego on February 11 and at Fresno on February 12.
Toledo will head down south before the holidays, visiting Columbia on December 16, Gwinnett on December 17, Greenville on December 20 and South Carolina on December 21. Reading heads to Stockton right after Christmas visiting the Thunder on December 27, 28 and 30 before spending New Year’s Eve at Long Beach and January 3 at Las Vegas.
It will be a division semifinals rematch on November 6 when Toledo hosts Reading, which eliminated the Storm from the postseason, and on October 28, 29 and 30 when Bakersfield travels to Alaska, which ousted the Condors from the playoffs. In other Kelly Cup Playoffs rematches, Columbia hosts Charlotte, which eliminated the Inferno in the quarterfinals, on October 28 and South Carolina hosts Florida, which eliminated the Stingrays in the quarterfinals, on November 29. Mississippi will look for revenge on November 4 when it hosts Gwinnett, which knocked the Sea Wolves out of the playoffs. Alaska travels to Long Beach on December 2 and 3 for the first meeting between the two since the Aces swept the Ice Dogs in the division finals while Greenville will face Florida on November 26, the first meeting since the Everblades swept the Grrrowl in the conference semifinals.
2005-06 ECHL Home Openers
October 21 vs. San Diego Gulls
October 21 vs. South Carolina Stingrays
October 22 vs. Victoria Salmon Kings
November 6 vs. Greenville Grrrowl
October 21 vs. Greenville Grrrowl
October 22 vs. Toledo Storm
October 21 vs. Texas Wildcatters
October 21 vs. Victoria Salmon Kings
October 22 vs. Charlotte Checkers
October 21 vs. Charlotte Checkers
October 21 vs. Long Beach Ice Dogs
October 22 vs. Reading Royals
Las Vegas Wranglers
October 25 vs. Utah Grizzlies
Long Beach Ice Dogs
October 28 vs. Fresno Falcons
Mississippi Sea Wolves
October 28 vs. Texas Wildcatters
Pensacola Ice Pilots
October 22 vs. Mississippi Sea Wolves
October 22 vs. Utah Grizzlies
October 29 vs. Trenton Titans
San Diego Gulls
November 5 vs. Stockton Thunder
South Carolina Stingrays
October 22 vs. Columbia Inferno
December 3 vs. Fresno Falcons
October 29 vs. Mississippi Sea Wolves
October 21 vs. Dayton Bombers
October 22 vs. Wheeling Nailers
October 21 vs. Las Vegas Wranglers
Victoria Salmon Kings
November 10 vs. Stockton Thunder
October 28 vs. Reading Royals
A text version of the league schedule and text versions of individual team schedules are available by clicking the links below.