PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL on Friday released its revised playing schedule for the 2005-06 season.
The league was forced to revise the schedule in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita which forced the Mississippi Sea Wolves and Texas Wildcatters to suspend operations for 2005-06. The Sea Wolves have already reopened their office and have begun preparations for 2006-07 while the Wildcatters have announced that they will reopen their offices as soon as possible looking towards next season.
The ECHL welcomes the Phoenix RoadRunners, the Stockton (California) Thunder and the Utah (West Valley City) Grizzlies and will play 900 games, beginning October 21 and ending April 8, with 25 teams in 14 states and British Columbia.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League and there have been 258 players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL. The ECHL has affiliations with 21 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League and for the past 16 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.
The league opens its 18th season on October 21 with 10 games, including the newest member, the Utah Grizzlies, playing their first ECHL game when they host Phoenix 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 original ECHL member Johnstown while Gwinnett hosts Charlotte in a rematch of the conference semifinals, which the Checkers won in four games. Florida will celebrate division and conference titles when it hosts Las Vegas 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. Pensacola will celebrate its Brabham Cup title when it hosts Greenville, which eliminated the Ice Pilots from the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
October 22 has 12 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. 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, Las Vegas plays at Florida, Long Beach visits Idaho and Gwinnett travels to Pensacola.
Opening weekend concludes on October 23 when Columbia travels to Augusta while Long Beach concludes its series at Idaho and Utah plays again at Phoenix.
Las Vegas hosts Utah in its home opener on October 25 while there are two home openers on October 28 with Long Beach hosting Fresno and Wheeling hosting Reading. Reading will celebrate its regular season division title when it hosts Trenton, which beat the Royals in the division finals, on October 29. 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 South Carolina 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.
2005-06 ECHL Home Openers
Team Home Opener
October 21 vs. San Diego Gulls
October 21 vs. South Carolina Stingrays
October 22 vs. Victoria Salmon Kings
November 6 vs. South Carolina Stingrays
October 21 vs. Johnstown Chiefs
October 22 vs. Toledo Storm
October 21 vs. Las Vegas Wranglers
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
Pensacola Ice Pilots
October 21 vs. Greenville Grrrowl
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 21 vs. Dayton Bombers
October 22 vs. Wheeling Nailers
October 21 vs. Phoenix RoadRunners
Victoria Salmon Kings
November 10 vs. Stockton Thunder
October 28 vs. Reading Royals