The Royals have been owned by serial entrepreneur Jack Gulati since 2014 and are entering their 18th ECHL season. Proudly affiliated with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Reading plays in the Santander Arena, located in downtown Reading, PA at 700 Penn Street. The team won the 2013 Kelly Cup and has made the playoffs in nine straight seasons. Royals fans affectionately refer to the club as “Goaltender U,” in part because of the number of future NHL goaltenders that have come through Reading, including Jonathan Quick, Philipp Grubauer, James Reimer, Ben Scrivens, Michael Hutchinson and Barry Brust.
The franchise was founded in 1991 as the Columbus Chill. The Chill suspended operations in 1999 and the franchise became active again for the 2001-02 season in Reading. The Royals qualified for the postseason for the first time in 2003-04 and former Chill player Derek Clancey was Reading’s Head Coach. The Royals qualified for the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals. Forward Larry Courville played for the Royals from 2004-08 and then became the team’s Head Coach with 38 games left in the 2008-09 season. The Royals have made Kelly Cup Playoffs every season since 2009-10.
During the Royals’ Kelly Cup championship run in 2013 under Courville, Captain Yannick Tifu played in every regular season and postseason game. His #10 and Courville’s #22 are the only two numbers retired by the Royals. Reading defeated Stockton in five games to complete the Royals’ first championship season.
Forward Kirk MacDonald won the 2013 Kelly Cup with the Royals and served as an assistant coach under Courville from 2014-17. MacDonald became the team’s interim Head Coach in Apr. 2017 and was named Royals Head Coach in May 2017. In his first full season leading the Royals, Reading finished with 87 points and made the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
The Royals are four-time division champions.