Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Celebrates 2006-07 Season
PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced that on Oct. 20 it will be “Game On!” for the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League as the coast-to-coast national league and its 25 member teams celebrate the upcoming season with the “Game On!” promotional campaign.
“Our goal is to make the 2006-07 season the best ever,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “With the adoption of the NHL officiating standard, the speed, flow and excitement of the games promise to provide fans with a great on-ice product.”
“Game On!” is a multifaceted promotional campaign designed to increase interest and awareness for the start of the 2006-07 season, not only in ECHL markets but throughout North America. The “Game On!” campaign will be active in all 25 league markets leading up to Oct. 20 when the ECHL opens its 19th season. “Game On!” will be featured on dasherboards in league arenas as well as being utilized in other promotional activities.
Originally developed and introduced by the National Hockey League in 1998 to distinguish the start of the hockey season during the crowded October sports calendar, “Game On!” has been used by the NHL and minor professional hockey leagues each of the past seven years.
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League in 2006-07. There have been 303 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 47 in 2005-06. There have been 158 players who have played in the NHL after the ECHL in the past five seasons and there were 13 former ECHL coaches behind the benches of NHL teams in 2005-06.
The ECHL was represented for the sixth consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team, including Carolina Hurricanes head coach Peter Laviolette, who is the first ECHL coach to win the Stanley Cup.
The ECHL has affiliations with 23 of the 27 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. The ECHL has had more players called up to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined each of the past four seasons with 1,646 call ups involving almost 1,000 players.
The ECHL raised its average attendance for the third straight year in 2005-06 drawing 3,934,794 for 900 games which is an average of 4,372 per game, an increase of more than nine percent from 2004-05 and the largest per-game average since 1999-2000. Six teams surpassed 200,000 and nine teams averaged 5,000 per game for the first time since 1999-2000 as the league welcomed 39 sellout crowds and 13 of the 22 returning teams raised their average attendance from a year ago.
The Idaho Steelheads and the City of Boise will host the 15th Annual ECHL All-Star Game presented by Rbk Hockey on Jan. 17 and the 10th Annual ECHL All-Star Skills Competition presented by Rbk Hockey on Jan. 16 at Qwest Arena.
In 2005-06 the ECHL and its member teams contributed more than $2.3 million for charity and relief funds, including those benefiting victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, while also making thousands of appearances by players, coaches, team personnel and mascots at schools, hospitals, libraries and charity functions.
Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at www.ECHL.com.