PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL held its 12th Annual Communications & Marketing Meetings on June 10-13.
Commissioner Brian McKenna opened the meeting addressing the more than 150 attendees from ECHL teams. McKenna reviewed 2006-07 and then revealed the 20th Anniversary logo, emphasizing that only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League have a longer history than the ECHL, and outlined goals and objectives for the teams and the league in 2007-08.
Featured speakers included Scott O’Neil, who is National Basketball Association Senior Vice President of Team Marketing and Business Operations, and sports consultants Michael Arya and Mark Norelli. O’Neil is responsible for advising NBA, WNBA and NBA Developmental League teams on all business operations including ticket sales and service, sponsorship development and marketing. Specializing in ticket sales, marketing and advertising, Arya has spent over 20 years working for and with teams in the NBA, Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the National Hockey League as well as teams in minor league hockey, baseball and soccer.
The annual vendor showcase was held on June 11 allowing teams to meet and view products from officially-licensed vendors. The Pensacola Ice Pilots won a complete set of dasherboard graphics from AMI Graphics, the “Exclusive Signage Company of the ECHL”.
At the request of member teams, the meetings featured more breakout sessions for ticket sales, marketing and communications allowing for more idea sharing and interaction.
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in three states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league that will have 25 teams playing in 17 states and British Columbia in 2007-08, including the Mississippi (Biloxi) Sea Wolves, who return after missing two seasons in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Opening Day for the 20th Anniversary Season will be Oct. 18 when the Johnstown Chiefs host the Wheeling Nailers at Cambria County War Memorial. The game is a rematch of Game 7 from the first-ever ECHL Finals played in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Cambria County War Memorial. The two teams will wear throwback 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.
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 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 24 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.
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.
2008 ECHL All-Star Game and Skills Competition will be hosted by Stockton Thunder, City of Stockton and Stockton Arena on Jan. 22-23, 2008.
Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.