Dear ECHL Fans,
I am pleased to officially welcome you to the 27th season of ECHL hockey. We are fortunate to be in many great cities with modern arenas with teams prepared to deliver an outstanding hockey product.
We are proud to welcome our eight new Members to the ECHL for the 2014-15 season – the Allen Americans, Brampton Beast, Indy Fuel, Missouri Mavericks, Quad City Mallards, Rapid City Rush, Tulsa Oilers and Wichita Thunder – giving the League 28 teams in 20 states and one Canadian province.
This season will feature the first two outdoor games in ECHL history, to be hosted by the Toledo Walleye, during the holiday period, and the return of the ECHL All-Star Classic in Orlando on Jan. 21, 2015.
During the 2013-14 season, the ECHL experienced its highest average per-game attendance since 1999-2000. The ECHL is well positioned to provide outstanding entertainment value for our fan base.
In addition to providing affordable family entertainment to more than 90 million fans since it began, ECHL teams have become an important part of their communities by donating more than $31 million and countless hours to charity over the past decade.
The ECHL has become an integral part of the professional hockey player development process as 544 players have gone on to play in the NHL after the ECHL including 29 in 2013-14. In addition to these players, countless officials, coaches and front office staff have moved on to the AHL and NHL. For the 2014-15 season, 14 of the 30 AHL head coaches and over 25 coaches on NHL staffs have ECHL ties. Approximately one-third of the current on-ice officials in the NHL spent time developing their skills in the ECHL.
We congratulate the Alaska Aces, who tied the ECHL record with their third Kelly Cup championship by defeating the Cincinnati Cyclones 4 games to 2 in the 2014 Kelly Cup Finals.
The ECHL has been represented on the last 14 Stanley Cup champions including in 2014 with Los Angeles assistant coach Davis Payne, players Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis, Martin Jones, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Jonathan Quick; manager of communications and broadcasting Jeremy Zager; and scouts Mark Mullen and Mark Yannetti. The ECHL had affiliations with 26 of the 30 teams in the NHL in 2013-14, marking the 17th consecutive year for affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. For the 25th season in a row, the ECHL was represented on the AHL champion with nine players on the Calder Cup champion Texas Stars, including regular season and Calder Cup Playoffs Most Valuable Player, Travis Morin.
Thank you on behalf of the ECHL and its teams for your continued support and we hope that you and your family enjoy following your favorite team through what promises to be a fantastic 27th season of ECHL hockey.