Ice Hockey Wiki
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 1988
No. of teams 28
Country(ies) United States (27 teams)
Canada (1 team)
Most recent champion(s) Florida Everblades (2023)
Most championship(s) (tie) Alaska Aces, Hampton Roads Admirals and
South Carolina Stingrays (3)
Official website

The ECHL (formerly the East Coast Hockey League) is a mid-level professional ice hockey league based in Princeton, New Jersey, with teams scattered across the United States and Canada. It is generally regarded as a tier below the American Hockey League. The ECHL's official website lists the league as "The Premier AA" league of hockey in North America, because most teams serve as feeder teams for American Hockey League teams. Hockey does not use letter-designations to define their league's levels, but the ECHL has tried for years to establish such a pecking order, with some success.

The ECHL, along with the AHL, are the only minor leagues recognized by the collective bargaining agreement between the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association, meaning any player signed to an entry-level NHL contract and designated for assignment must report to a club either in the AHL or the ECHL.[1]


The Worcester Railers being announced as an expansion team for 2017-18, the Owensboro, Kentucky team were scheduled to take to the ice for 2017-18 however the city of Owensboro objected to the cost of the new facility proposed and then the ownership of the team had the option to renovate the Owensboro Sportscenter but declined on that option and the future of the team is now uncertain, and an application from a group in Portland, Maine for a team also for 2017-18 being on file.  The league has stated that it would like to be in line with the NHL and the AHL in having the same number of teams.  The NHL will be having 31 teams for the 2017-18 season with the addition of an expansion team in Las Vegas. The ownership of the Las Vegas team has stated that it will probably share its AHL affiliate for the first season and work on an ECHL affiliate in due time at the team is starting from scratch in terms of players.  The league had previously announced its final decision on expansion teams for 2017-18 would be made in Septermber of 2016; but the IceMen situation has complicated the process as interest has also been received from Prescott Valley, Arizona for a team, that city previously had a team in the former Central Hockey League from 2006 to 2014 and had ceased operations in the months leading up to the ECHL/CHL merger.  Any decision on expansion franchises for the 2017-18 are expected to be made at the January 2017 owners' meeting. 

The proposed Portland team is trying to get a couple more investors on board before signing a lease with the city for use of the Cross Insurance Arena in time to get approval from the league in January to be able to play for the 2017-18 season.  The team would be formally announced on June 16, 2017.  The team will be called the Maine Mariners.

The Alaska Aces organization announced on February 23, 2017 that the team would be ceasing operations at the end of the 2016-17 season as the team was dealing with heavy losses financially due to a $600,000 reduction in sponsor ship revenue and $262,000 reduction in season ticket sales.  The state's economy has been in an extended downturn involving the los of thousands of jobs.  The team was subsidizing the travel expenses for visiting teams due to the expense of travel to the state.  The team had operated without local or state subsidies and the ownership had put additional investments into the team in an attempt to keep the team in operation.  Managing partner of the ownership group Terry Parks stated  “We worked through every possible solution that might have avoided this outcome but it became painfully obvious to us that, in this economy, a professional hockey team is not sustainable in Alaska.”

The Worcester expansion team may possibly have run into a minor hitch with playing at the DCU Center as the Holy Cross Crusaders are reported to be moving into the arena as part of a possible entry into the NCAA Division I Hockey East possibly as early as for the 2017-18 season (and subsequent elevation of their women's program to Division I as required by accepting Hockey East membership) as Hockey East has a minimum seating capacity requirement of 4,000 and the Hart Center is well below that figure and the DCU Center is the only hockey facility in the immediate area with that large of a capacity.  In February 2017, the Boston Bruins announced that they were extending their relationship with the Atlanta Gladiators which ended speculation that the team would possibly be affiliated with the Bruins organization.  The ownership of the Providence Bruins have made some noise about being unhappy with the team going into Worcester as they felt that the area was part of their drawing area to begin with as both Providence and Worcester are on the outskirts of the greater Boston area and an affiliation with the Bruins was speculated to be vital to the success of the ECHL in Worcester as the southeastern New England area has a history of not supporting minor league teams that are not affiliated with the Boston major league teams, such as the failure of the AHL in both Worcester and Lowell, but the support of the Providence Bruins, Pawtucket Red Sox and the Lowell Spinners baseball teams who are affiliated withe the Boston Red Sox.

The Evansville franchise was sold in early February 2017 to a group that was moving the team to the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida where they will become the Jacksonville IceMen.

In mid-June of 2017 the Alaska Aces were sold to the parent company of the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers and are to be relocated to the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine.  The team will be renamed and will take to the ice for the 2018-19 season as time did not allow for the league and  team be ready to be worked in to a schedule for 2017-18.


The city of St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador is working on an expansion team to begin play at the Mile One Centre for the 2018-19 season to replace the AHL level St. John's IceCaps who moved to Laval, Quebec after the 2016-17 season.  The approval of the team was announced on March 13, 2018.

The Quad City Mallards announced on March 13, 2018 that the team would be ceasing operations at the end of the 2017-18 season.


The Manchester Monarchs announced that they would be ceasing operations in May of 2019 and the league Board of Governors then voted to terminate the membership of the team .


The league, which combined teams from the defunct Atlantic Coast Hockey League and All-American Hockey League, began play as the East Coast Hockey League in 1988 with 5 teams, the Carolina Thunderbirds (now the Wheeling Nailers), the Erie Panthers (now the Victoria Salmon Kings), the Johnstown Chiefs, the Knoxville Cherokees (the franchise, as the Pee Dee Pride, is currently suspended, to resume play in Conway, South Carolina in 2009–10), and the Virginia Lancers (now the Utah Grizzlies).

Since that time, the ECHL has met with a mixture of failures and successes, reaching its largest size in 2003 of 31 teams before being reduced to 28 teams for the 2004 season. In September 2002, the West Coast Hockey League ceased operations, and the ECHL Board of Governors approved membership applications from the Anchorage (now Alaska) Aces, the Bakersfield Condors, the Fresno Falcons, the Idaho Steelheads, the Las Vegas Wranglers, the Long Beach Ice Dogs and the San Diego Gulls as well as from teams in Ontario, California and Reno, Nevada. Alaska, Bakersfield, Fresno, Idaho, Las Vegas, Long Beach and San Diego began play in the 2003–04 season as expansion teams.

The teams from the defunct lower-level WCHL, along with Las Vegas, joined as expansion teams for the ECHL’s 16th season in 2003–04. In a change reflective of the nationwide presence of the ECHL, the East Coast Hockey League changed its name to simply ECHL on May 19, 2003.

The league, because of geographical anomalies, continued to use unbalanced conferences and divisions, which has in the past made for some extremely varied playoff formats and limited interconference play. Due to travel costs, the league has attempted to placate owners in keeping those costs down, which has led to the sometimes-odd playoff structures. The league as of 2008; consisted of nine West Coast-based teams in the National Conference, and twelve eastern, midwestern and southern teams in the American Conference.

In the past several years, the ECHL has attempted to be more tech-friendly to its fans. Some improvements on the league's website have included a new schedule and statistics engine powered by League Stat, Inc. (introduced in 2006), internet radio coverage for most teams, and pay-per view broadcasting of ECHL games through B2 Networks. In 2008, the league introduced the ECHL toolbar for internet browsers which gave users short cut access to statistics, scores, transactions, and news updates.[2]

The annual ECHL Board of Governors Meeting was held on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 in Henderson, Nevada. The Board of Governors approved changes to the names of the conferences and divisions. The American Conference gets changed to the Eastern Conference and the National Conference gets changed to the Western Conference. The East Division gets changed to the Atlantic Division and the West Division gets changed to the Mountain Division. [3]

Addition of Central Hockey League teams (for 2014-15 season)

The league held a Board of Governors Meeting on October 7, 2014 and at this meeting the league added the seven remaining members of the Central Hockey League as expansion teams for the 2014-15 ECHL season.  This gave the league a balanced, 28 team league with 2 conferences with 2-seven team divisions.  On October 9th, the league approved a new realignment and playoff format for the 2014-15 season.  The schedule was released on October 13th with the former CHL teams now playing a 72-game schedule.

Fallout from formation of AHL's Pacific Division

The ECHL lost and gained several cities when the AHL added a Pacific Division for the 2015-16 season.  The league lost teams in Bakersfield, Stockton, and Ontario, California. The league gained teams in Manchester, New Hampshire, Glens Falls, New York, and returned to Norfolk, Virginia.

On February 9th, 2016 the league annouced the addition of a team to be based out of the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts.  The team will take to the ice for the 2017-18 season.

2016-17 to 2018-19 changes

The Evansville IceMen announced they would relocate to Owensboro, Kentucky for the 2016-17 season.  The team needed to put in extensive repairs to the arena that they will be playing in the Owensboro Sports Center.  The team later decided to take the 2016-17 season off in order to complete the renovations.  The ownership of the arena in Evansville immediately began working on obtaining an expansion franchise in the Southern Professional Hockey League which came to fruition on March 16th.  An article in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette of July 29, 2016 openly questioned if the team will ever take to the ice in Owensboro. The new facility that would cost between $20 and 25 million will not come to fruition (according to TV station WFIE) and the existing arena in Owensboro, the Sportscenter would require about $9 million in renovations to make it usable for the team.  This would require a plan to be in place by the end of September 2016 for the arena to be ready to be used for the 2017-18 season.

A feasibility study was performed in mid to late 2016 to see if there was enough of a population base on the Delmarva peninsula in the area of Ocean City, Maryland to determine if a 6,200 seat arena was worth being built. The plan was for it to become the home of an ECHL team. In early 2017 the study determined it would not be practical as the community itself had a little over 7,000 year round residents (as the area is a major summer vacation destination) and the Salisbury, MD-DE Metropolitan Statistical Area had a little over 370,000 residents with nearby Salisbury accounting for about 10% of the total.

As part of the fall out from the Arizona Coyotes moving their AHL affiliate to Tucson, Arizona from Springfield, Massachusetts and then the Portland Pirates being sold to a group that is trying to move the team to Springfield for the 2016-17 season;  The soon to be former owner of the AHL's Pirates announced that he was planning on bringing an ECHL team to Portland, Maine for the 2017-18 season. No word on whether it would be an expansion team or a relocated team.

The Missouri Mavericks were rumored to be either moving up to the American Hockey League  or disbanding to make for a team that was proposed to be based out of the Sprint Center in nearby Kansas City, Missouri.  In mid-March 2017 the owner of the team announced that they would be changing their name to the Kansas City Mavericks once the 2016-17 season ends. It was further stated that the team will not be changing leagues or arenas.

The Colorado Eagles will relinquish their membership in the league after the conclusion of their 2017-18 season as they have been accepted as an expansion member of the American Hockey League for the 2018-19 season.

In December of 2017, the city of St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador had emerged as a candidate for an expansion team for the 2018-19 season.  The proposed ownership group is working on getting a team to play in Mile One Stadium.  The arena's current main tenant, the St. John's Edge of the National Basketball League of Canada has ownership that has a lease that gives them a 45-day window to obtain a hockey team to play out of the arena as well in the event another group wants to put a hockey team in the arena on top of an 18-month window that was already set to get another team into the arena.   The 45 day window expires on January 29, 2018.  The only mention from the group was the possibility of a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League expansion team and that enough progress was not made to bring a QMJHL team to the arena.  The ECHL team would be aligned with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL. St. John's was previously home to the St. John's Maple Leafs who were the American Hockey League affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1991 to 2005.  The most recent hockey team to call St. John's home was the St. John's IceCaps of the AHL from 2011 to 2017.

2021–22 teams

Alignment and affiliations as of July 3, 2021. Not all affiliations for the 2021–22 season have been announced or extended.[4]

Division Team City Arena Founded Joined Head coach NHL affiliate AHL affiliate
Eastern Conference
North Adirondack Thunder Glens Falls, New York Cool Insuring Arena 1990* Alex Loh New Jersey Devils Utica Comets
Maine Mariners Portland, Maine Cross Insurance Arena 1989* 2003 Riley Armstrong Boston Bruins Providence Bruins
Newfoundland Growlers St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador Mary Brown's Centre 2018 Vacant Toronto Maple Leafs Toronto Marlies
Reading Royals Reading, Pennsylvania Santander Arena 1991* Kirk MacDonald Philadelphia Flyers Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Trois-Rivières Lions Trois-Rivières, Quebec Le Nouveau Colisée 2021 Éric Bélanger Montreal Canadiens[5] Laval Rocket
Worcester Railers Worcester, Massachusetts DCU Center 2017 David Cunniff New York Islanders Bridgeport Islanders
South Atlanta Gladiators Duluth, Georgia Gas South Arena 1995* Jeff Pyle
Florida Everblades Estero, Florida Hertz Arena 1998 Brad Ralph Nashville Predators Milwaukee Admirals
Greenville Swamp Rabbits Greenville, South Carolina Bon Secours Wellness Arena 1987* 1988 Andrew Lord Florida Panthers Charlotte Checkers
Jacksonville Icemen Jacksonville, Florida VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena 1992* 2012 Jason Christie New York Rangers Hartford Wolf Pack
Norfolk Admirals Norfolk, Virginia Norfolk Scope 1995* 2003 Rod Taylor Independent
Orlando Solar Bears Orlando, Florida Amway Center 2012 Drake Berehowsky Tampa Bay Lightning Syracuse Crunch
South Carolina Stingrays North Charleston, South Carolina North Charleston Coliseum 1993 Ryan Blair Washington Capitals Hershey Bears
Western Conference
Central Cincinnati Cyclones Cincinnati, Ohio Heritage Bank Center 1995* Matt Thomas Buffalo Sabres Rochester Americans
Fort Wayne Komets Fort Wayne, Indiana Allen County War Memorial Coliseum 1985* 2012 Ben Boudreau Vegas Golden Knights Henderson Silver Knights
Indy Fuel Indianapolis, Indiana Indiana Farmers Coliseum 2014 Doug Christiansen Chicago Blackhawks Rockford IceHogs
Iowa Heartlanders Coralville, Iowa Xtream Arena 2021 Vacant Minnesota Wild Iowa Wild
Kalamazoo Wings Kalamazoo, Michigan Wings Event Center 1999* 2009 Nick Bootland Columbus Blue Jackets Cleveland Monsters
Toledo Walleye Toledo, Ohio Huntington Center 1991 Dan Watson Detroit Red Wings Grand Rapids Griffins
Wheeling Nailers Wheeling, West Virginia WesBanco Arena 1981* 1988 Derek Army Pittsburgh Penguins Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Mountain Allen Americans Allen, Texas Allen Event Center 2009 2014 Steve Martinson
Idaho Steelheads Boise, Idaho CenturyLink Arena 1997 2003 Everett Sheen Dallas Stars Texas Stars
Kansas City Mavericks Independence, Missouri Cable Dahmer Arena 2009 2014 Tad O'Had Calgary Flames Stockton Heat
Rapid City Rush Rapid City, South Dakota Rushmore Plaza Civic Center 2008 2014 Scott Burt Arizona Coyotes Tucson Roadrunners
Tulsa Oilers Tulsa, Oklahoma BOK Center 1992 2014 Rob Murray Anaheim Ducks San Diego Gulls
Utah Grizzlies West Valley City, Utah Maverik Center 1981* 1988 Tim Branham Colorado Avalanche Colorado Eagles
Wichita Thunder Wichita, Kansas Intrust Bank Arena 1992 2014 Bruce Ramsay Edmonton Oilers Bakersfield Condors
  1. An asterisk (*) denotes a franchise move. See the respective team articles for more information.

All-Time Listing of Teams

Team Location Arena Tenure Notes
Carolina Thunderbirds Winston-Salem, North Carolina Winston-Salem Memorial Coliseum 1988-1989 renamed Winston-Salem Thunderbirds
Erie Panthers Erie, Pennsylvania Erie Civic Center 1988-1996 relocated to Baton Rouge, Louisiana; renamed Baton Rouge Kingfish
Johnstown Chiefs Johnstown, Pennsylvania Cambria County War Memorial Arena 1988-2010 relocated to Greenville, South Carolina; renamed Greenville Road Warriors
Knoxville Cherokees Knoxville, Tennessee Knoxville Civic Coliseum 1988-1997 relocated to Florence, South Carolina; renamed Pee Dee Pride
Virginia Lancers Vinton, Virginia LancerLot 1988-1990 renamed Roanoke Valley Rebels
Greensboro Monarchs Greensboro, North Carolina Greensboro Coliseum 1989-1995 ceased operations when city gets American Hockey League team
Hampton Roads Admirals Norfolk, Virginia Norfolk Scope 1989-2000 relcoated to Columbus, Georgia; renamed Columbus Cottonmouths
Nashville Knights Nashville, Tennessee Nashville Municipal Auditorium 1989-1996 relocated to Pensacola, Florida and renamed Pensacola Ice Pilots when city is awarded National Hockey League team
Winston-Salem Thunderbirds Winston-Salem, North Carolina LJVM Coliseum Annex 1989-1992 relocated to Wheeling, West Virginia; renamed Wheeling Thunderbirds
Cincinnati Cyclones Cincinnati, Ohio Riverfront Coliseum 1990-1992 relocated to Birmingham, Alabama; renamed Birmingham Bulls (ECHL)
Louisville IceHawks Louisville, Kentucky Broadbent Arena 1990-1994 relocated to Jacksonville, Florida; renamed Jacksonville Lizard Kings
Richmond Renegades Richmond, Virginia Richmond Coliseum 1990-2003 folded
Roanoke Valley Rebels Vinton, Virginia LancerLot 1990-1992 renamed Roanoke Valley Rampage
Columbus Chill Columbus, Ohio Ohio Expo Center Coliseum 1991-1999 relocated to Reading, Pennsylvania; renamed Reading Royals
Dayton Bombers Dayton, Ohio Hara Arena (1991-1996), Nutter Center (1996-2009) 1991-2009 suspended operations then return membership to league
Raleigh IceCaps Raleigh, North Carolina Dorton Arena 1991-1998 relocated to Augusta, Georgia; renamed Augusta Lynx
Toledo Storm Toledo, Ohio Toledo Sports Arena 1991-2007 renamed Toledo Walleye
Birmingham Bulls (ECHL) Birmingham, Alabama Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center 1992-2001 relocated to Atlantic City, New Jersey; renamed Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies
Roanoke Valley Rampage Vinton, Virginia LancerLot 1992-1993 relocated to Huntsville, Alabama; renamed Huntsville Blast
Wheeling Thunderbirds Wheeling, West Virginia Wheeling Civic Center 1992-1996 renamed Wheeling Nailers
Charlotte Checkers (1993-2010) Charlotte, North Carolina Cricket Arena (known as Independence Arena 1995-2001) (1993-2005), Time Warner Cable Arena (2005-2010)(known as Charlotte Bobcats Arena 2005-2008 1993-2010 franchise folded when team owner purchases American Hockey League's Albany River Rats and relocates team to city as Charlotte Checkers (AHL)
Huntington Blizzard Huntington, West Virginia Huntington Civic Arena 1993-2000 suspend operations 2000-2003; relocated to Beaumont, Texas; renamed Texas Wildcatters
Huntsville Blast Huntsville, Alabama Von Braun Center 1993-1994 relocated to Tallahassee, Florida; renamed Tallahassee Tiger Sharks
Roanoke Express Roanoke, Virginia Roanoke Civic Center 1993-2004 folded
South Carolina Stingrays North Charleston, South Carolina North Charleston Coliseum (primary), Carolina Ice Palace (backup) 1993-present
Tallahassee Tiger Sharks Tallahassee, Florida Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center 1994-2001 relocated to Macon, Georgia; renamed Macon Whoopee
Jacksonville Lizard Kings Jacksonville, Florida Jacksonville Coliseum 1995-2000 suspend operations when arena is closed to build Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena but do not return to play
Louisiana IceGators Lafayette, Louisiana Cajundome 1995-2005 suspend operations after 2005-06 season; do not return
Louisville River Frogs Louisville, Kentucky Broadbent Arena 1995-1998 relocated to Miami, Florida; renamed Miami Matadors
Mobile Mysticks Mobile, Alabama Mobile Civic Center 1995-2002 suspend operations for 2002-03; relocated to Duluth, Georgia and are renamed Gwinnett Gladiators
Baton Rouge Kingfish Baton Rouge, Louisiana Riverside Centroplex 1996-2003 relocated to Victoria, British Columbia; renamed Victoria Salmon Kings
Mississippi SeaWolves Biloxi, Mississippi Mississippi Coast Coliseum 1996-2005 suspend operations duec to damage caused to arena by Hurricane Katrina; return for 2007-08 season
Pensacola Ice Pilots Pensacola, Florida Pensacola Civic Center 1996-2008 franchise revoked
Peoria Rivermen (ECHL) Peoria, Illinois Carver Arena 1996-2005 franchise folded when city gets American Hockey League team, Peoria Rivermen (AHL)
Wheeling Nailers Wheeling, West Virginia WesBanco Arena (known as Wheeling Civic Center until 2003), Cambria County War Memorial Arena (back-up 2010-2012) 1996-present
Chesapeake Icebreakers Upper Marlboro, Maryland The Show Place Arena 1997-1999 relocated to Jackson, Mississippi; renamed Jackson Bandits
New Orleans Brass New Orleans, Louisiana Municipal Auditorium (New Orleans) (1997-1999) and New Orleans Arena (1999-2002) 1997-2002 folded when New Orleans Arena gets National Basketball Association team due to expenses with having to pay to convert arena between sports
Pee Dee Pride Florence, South Carolina Florence Civic Center 1997-2005 suspended operations with plans to move to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina but arena was not built and membership was returned to league in June of 2009
Augusta Lynx Augusta, Georgia James Brown Arena 1998-2008 folded December 2, 2008
Florida Everblades Estero, Florida Germain Arena (known as Everblades Arena (1998-?, TECO Arena ?-2004) 1998-present
Greenville Grrrowl Greenville, South Carolina Bi-Lo Center 1998-2006 folded June 2, 2006
Miami Matadors Miami, Florida Miami Arena 1998-1999  suspend operations 1999-2001; relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio; renamed Cincinnati Cyclones
Arkansas RiverBlades North Little Rock, Arkansas Alltel Arena 1999-2003 folded
Greensboro Generals Greensboro, North Carolina Greensboro Coliseum 1999-2004 franchise revoked
Jackson Bandits Jackson, Mississippi Mississippi Coliseum 1999-2003 ceased operations after league denied a one year leave of absence
Trenton Titans Trenton, New Jersey Sovereign Bank Arena 1999-2007 renamed Trenton Devils
Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies Atlantic City, New Jersey Boardwalk Hall 2001-2005 relocated to Stockton, California; renamed Stockton Thunder
Cincinnati Cyclones Cincinnati, Ohio Heritage Bank Center (known as U.S. Bank Arena 2002-2019) 2001-present
Columbia Inferno Columbia, South Carolina Carolina Coliseum 2001-2008 suspend operations in 2008 awaiting new arena being built; franchise removed in June 2014
Columbus Cottonmouths Columbus, Georgia Columbus Civic Center 2001-2004 suspend operations awaiting arena being bullt in Bradenton, Florida; were to be named Gulf Coast Swords; franchise revoked by league in 2006
Macon Whoopee Macon, Georgia Macon Coliseum 2001-2002 relocated to Lexington, Kentucky; renamed Lexington Men O' War
Reading Royals Reading, Pennsylvania Santander Arena (known as Sovereign Center 2001-2013) 2001-present
Lexington Men O' War Lexington, Kentucky Rupp Arena 2002-2003 suspend operations 2003-2005; then relocated to West Valley City, Utah; renamed Utah Grizzlies (ECHL)
Alaska Aces (ECHL) Anchorage, Alaska Sullivan Arena 2003-2017 suspend operations due to economic conditions in state; sold in June of 2017; relocated to Portland, Maine and renamed Maine Mariners (ECHL)
Bakersfield Condors (ECHL) Bakersfield, California Rabobank Arena (known as Bakersfield Centenial Garden 2003-2005) 2003-2015 franchise relocated to Norfolk, Virginia when Norfolk Admirals relocated to Bakersfield and become Bakersfield Condors (AHL)
Florence Pride Florence, South Carolina Florence Civic Center 1997-2005

planned to relcoate to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; be renamed Myrtle Beach Thunderboltz; however arena fell through franchise returned to league June 2009

Fresno Falcons Fresno, California Save Mart Center 2003-2008 ceased operations December 22, 2008
Gwinnett Gladiators Duluth, Georgia Infinite Energy Arena (known as Gwinnett Civic Center Arena (2003-04 and The Arena at Gwinnett 2004-2015) 2003-2015 renamed Atlanta Gladiators
Idaho Steelheads Boise, Idaho CenturyLink Arena Boise (known as Bank of America Centre 2003-2005 and Qwest Arena 2005-2011) 2003-present
Las Vegas Wranglers Las Vegas, Nevada Orleans Arena 2003-2014 suspend operations for 2014-15 season awaiting new arena to play in; suspend operations in 2015 after not being able to secure one
Long Beach Ice Dogs (ECHL) Long Beach, California Long Beach Sports Arena 2003-2007 suspended operations April 20, 2007; franchise terminated by ECHL on June 18, 2007
San Diego Gulls (1995-2006) San Diego, California IPayOne Center (known as San Diego Sports Arena 2003-2005) 2003-2006 folded on June 30, 2006
Texas Wildcatters Beaumont, Texas Ford Arena 2003-2005 team sits out 2005-06 season as arena is used during 2005-06 season as a relief center for victims of Hurricane Rita; returns for 2006-07 season
Victoria Salmon Kings Victoria, British Columbia Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre 2004-2011 folded after 2010-11 season; replaced by Western Hockey League franchise (Victoria Royals)
Phoenix Roadrunners Phoenix, Arizona US Airways Center (known as America West Arena 2005-2006) 2005-2009 ceased operations
Stockton Thunder Stockton, California Stockton Arena 2005-2015 relocated to Glens Falls, New York when city gets American Hockey League team, the Stockton Heat
Utah Grizzlies(ECHL) West Valley City, Utah Maverik Center (known as E Center 2005-2010) 2005-present
Cincinnati Cyclones Cincinnati, OH Heritage Bank Center (known as U.S. Bank Arena 2006-2019) 2006-Present
Texas Wildcatters Beaumont, Texas Ford Arena 2006-2008 relocated to Ontario, California; renamed Ontario Reign (ECHL)
Elmira Jackals Elmira, New York First Arena 2007-2017 fold when unable to find new ownership
Mississippi SeaWolves Biloxi, Mississippi Mississippi Coast Coliseum 2007-2009 suspend operations; team ownership acquires Southern Professional Hockey League team (Mississippi Surge) for 2009-10 season
Trenton Devils Trenton, New Jersey Sun National Bank Center (known as Sovereign Bank Arena 2007-2009) 2007-2011 revert to Trenton Titans name
Ontario Reign (ECHL) Ontario, California Citizens Business Bank Arena 2008-2015 swap franchises with Manchester, New Hampshire based Manchester Monarchs (AHL) and become Ontario Reign (AHL)
Kalamazoo Wings Kalamazoo, Michigan Wings Event Center (known as Wings Stadium 2009-2015) 2009-present
Toledo Walleye Toledo, Ohio Huntington Center (Toledo) (known as Lucas County Arena 2009-2010) 2009-present
Greenville Road Warriors Greenville, South Carolina BI-LO Center 2010-2015 renamed Greenville Swamp Rabbits
Chicago Express Hoffman Estates, Illinois Sears Centre 2011-2012 announced April 6, 2012 would be ceasing operations at end of 2011-12 season
Colorado Eagles Loveland, Colorado Budweiser Events Center 2011-2018 franchise moved to American Hockey League for 2018-19 season as an expansion team
Trenton Titans Trenton, New Jersey Sun National Bank Center 2011-2013 ceased operations April 23, 2013
Evansville Icemen Evansville, Indiana Ford Center (Evansville) 2012-2016 suspend operations pending a move to Owensboro, Kentucky; unable to get arena renovations financed; franchise rights revived in 2017 return as Jacksonville, Florida based Jacksonville IceMen
Fort Wayne Komets Fort Wayne, Indiana Allen County War Memorial Coliseum 2012-present
Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL) Orlando, Florida Amway Center 2012-present
San Francisco Bulls Daly City, California Cow Palace 2010-2014 folded January 20, 2014
Allen Americans Allen, Texas Allen Event Center 2014-present
Brampton Beast Brampton, Ontario CAA Centre (known as Powerade Centre 2014-2018) 2014-present
Indy Fuel Indianapolis, Indiana Indiana Farmers Coliseum 2014-present
Missouri Mavericks Independence, Missouri Silverstein Eye Centers Arena (known as Independence Events Center 2014-2015) 2014-2017 renamed Kansas City Mavericks
Quad City Mallards Moline, Illinois TaxSlayer Center (known as IWireless Center 2014-2017) 2014-2018 ceased operations at end of 2017-18 season; replaced by new Southern Professional Hockey League team, the Quad City Storm
Rapid City Rush Rapid City, South Dakota Rushmore Plaza Civic Center 2014-present
Tulsa Oilers Tulsa, Oklahoma BOK Center 2014-present
Wichita Thunder Wichita, Kansas Intrust Bank Arena 2014-present
Adirondack Thunder Glens Falls, New York Cool Insuring Arena (known as Glens Falls Civic Center 2015-2017) 2015-present
Atlanta Gladiators Duluth, Georgia Infinite Energy Arena 2015-present
Greenville Swamp Rabbits Greenville, South Carolina Bon Secours Wellness Arena 2015-present
Manchester Monarchs (ECHL) Manchester, New Hampshire SNHU Arena 2015-2019 folded
Norfolk Admirals (ECHL) Norfolk, Virginia Norfolk Scope 2015-present
Jacksonville IceMen Jacksonville, Florida VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena (known as Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena 2017-2019) 2017-present
Kansas City Mavericks Independence, Missouri Silverstein Eye Centers Arena 2017-present
Worcester Railers Worcester, Massachusetts DCU Center 2017-presnt
Maine Mariners (ECHL) Portland, Maine Cross Insurance Arena 2018-present
Newfoundland Growlers St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador Mile One Centre 2018-present

2015 Kelly Cup playoff format

With the addition of the teams from the CHL the division alignment was changed to Eastern and Western Conferences (each containing two-seven team divisions (North and East in the Eastern Conference and Central and Pacific in the Western Conference). The top four teams in each division qualify for the playoffs.  The first two rounds of the playoffs would be within the division with the match ups being 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3. with the first round winners meeting in the diviosion final. The two division champions meet for the conference championship and the conference champions meeting for the Kelly Cup.  All four rounds of the playoffs are best-of-seven.

Future teams

  • Reno, Nevada, start date unknown; no announcement of arena construction has been mad some reports have listed the teams name as being the Reno Raiders. The rights to the franchise were purchased by a man named Larry Leasure of Boise, ID in 2000.  He retained the rights to the franchise when the league was absorbed by the ECHL.  He was hoping to secure a lease at a suitable arena.  The previous team played at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, which functions more so as a convention/meeting facility than a sports venue. The University of Nevada, Reno has the Lawlor Events Center which seats over 11,000 for basketball but makes no mention of events with ice so and the facility would require major renovations for use as a hockey rink. No progress has been made on a new arena.  As of the 2014-15 season the franchise is still "inactive".  This city has become one of the candidates for the AHL affiliate of the Las Vegas expansion team.
  • Medford, New York had a proposal on the table in 2018 for an arena with a capacity of 7,500 on the site of a former movie theater. The proposal fell apart as a car dealer was interested in the lot of land that just involved the single lot involving just the theater, but the arena proposal needed other land acquisitions. The remodeling of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the construction of the new arena in nearby Elmont, New York which would put an NHL team close by and the possibility existed at the time that the Coliseum could possibly become the home of the Islanders AHL affiliate effectively spelled the end of any effort to get the arena beyond the proposal stage.

The league has also been having several teams move to replace relocated AHL teams over the past few years.  This trend is expected to continue as several western NHL teams still have their AHL affilates in the east and several other teams in the league are looking to move their AHL affiliate closer to the NHL team.

Defunct and relocated teams

Teams that no longer play within the ECHL are listed below. Many of the former teams which had not moved are considered to have suspended operations and the franchises placed for sale, but in reality are and were simply financial failures, similar to defunct teams in all other minor league sports histories.

While the ECHL has stated in recent years they would not grant voluntary suspensions of franchises for more than one year, both the Toledo Storm (now the Toledo Walleye) and Mississippi Sea Wolves (now defunct) were granted two-year suspensions—the Sea Wolves because of Hurricane Katrina and the Storm in order to demolish their present arena and construct a new one in downtown Toledo. The Mississippi Sea Wolves resumed play for the 2007–2008 season, while the Toledo Walleye resumed play in their new arena for the 2009–2010 season.

On March 30, 2009, the Dayton Bombers and Mississippi Sea Wolves announced that they would suspend operations for the 2009–10 season, while the Phoenix RoadRunners announced that they will cease operations at the end of the 2008–09 season.[9] Dayton would receive a franchise in the International Hockey League and Biloxi, MS would receive a team in the Southern Professional Hockey League the following year.

On February 15, 2010, the Tribune-Democrat reported that the Johnstown Chiefs, the only remaining founding franchise of the East Coast Hockey League to remain in its original city, would be relocating to Greenville, South Carolina, the former home of the Greenville Grrrowl (1998-2006) following the completion of the 2009-10 season.[10]

Six former ECHL franchises have moved up to the American Hockey League. The Hampton Roads Admirals were the first, becoming the Norfolk Admirals in 2000, the Peoria Rivermen were the second, assuming the Worcester IceCats history but maintaining the Rivermen identity for their first AHL season of 2005-06, and the Charlotte Checkers were the third, assuming the Albany River Rats history following the club's move to Charlotte following the 2009-10 season. The new Charlotte AHL team will retain the Checkers identity. The fomation of a west coast division in the AHL for the 2015-16 season added three more teams that were replacing former ECHL teams (Bakersfield Condors, Ontario ReignStockton Thunder (renamed Heat))

ECHL Hall of Fame

In celebration of the league's 20th year of play, the ECHL Board of Governors created the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2008, to recognize the achievements of players, coaches, and personnel who dedicated their careers to the league. Hall of Fame members are selected in four categories: Player, Developmental Player, Builder, and Referee/Linesman. Players must have concluded their career as an active player for a minimum of three playing seasons, though not continuous or full seasons. Development Players must have begun their career in the ECHL and went on to a distinguished career in the NHL, playing a minimum of 260 regular season games in the NHL, AHL and ECHL. Builders may be active or inactive whereas Referee/Linesman must have concluded their active officiating career for a minimum of three playing seasons.

No more than five candidates are elected to the Hall of Fame each year with no more than three Players, one Developmental Player, two Builders and one Referee/Linesman. The Builder and the Referee/Linesman categories are dependent upon the number of candidates in the Player category.

The nomination and subsequent selection of candidates is determined by the ECHL Hall of Fame Selection Committee which is appointed by the ECHL.

The ECHL Hall of Fame Inaugural Class was inducted during the 2008 ECHL All-Star Game festivities at Stockton Arena in Stockton, California and included ECHL founder Henry Brabham, the ECHL's first commissioner Patrick J. Kelly, and former players Nick Vitucci and Chris Valicevic

List of Hall of Famers

List of Hall of Famers

Year Name Position/role ECHL Team(s)
2008 Henry Brabham


ECHL founder League Executive
Patrick J. Kelly


Commissioner (1988–96) League Executive
Chris Valicevic


Defenseman Greensboro Monarchs, Louisiana IceGators
Nick Vitucci


Goaltender Greensboro Monarchs, Hampton Roads Admirals, Toledo Storm, Charlotte Checkers, Greenville Grrrowl
2009 John Brophy


Head coach Hampton Roads Admirals, Wheeling Nailers
Blake Cullen


Owner Hampton Roads Admirals
Tom Nemeth


Defenseman Dayton Bombers, South Carolina Stingrays, Toledo Storm
Rod Taylor


Left winger Hampton Roads Admirals, Richmond Renegades, Roanoke Express, South Carolina Stingrays, Peoria Rivermen, Toledo Storm
2010 Cam Brown


Left winger Columbus Chill, Erie Panthers, Baton Rouge Kingfish, Gwinnett Gladiators
E.A. "Bud" Gingher


Owner; Chairman Board of Governors Chairman (1992–95); Dayton Bombers owner
Olaf Kolzig


Goaltender Hampton Roads Admirals
Darryl Noren


Center Greensboro Monarchs, Charlotte Checkers
2011 Phil Berger


Right winger Greensboro Monarchs, Charlotte Checkers, Raleigh IceCaps, Hampton Roads Admirals
Richard Adams


President/CEO (1995–02) League Executive
Luke Curtin


Left winger Baton Rouge Kingfish, Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies, Fresno Falcons
Joe Ernst


Referee League Official
2012 Bob Woods


Defenseman Johnstown Chiefs, Hampton Roads Admirals, Mobile Mysticks, Tallahassee Tiger Sharks, Mississippi Sea Wolves
Bill Coffey


Founder League Executive
Sheldon Gorski


Right Winger Louisville Icehawks, Louisville River Frogs, Miami Matadors, Pensacola Ice Pilots
John Marks


Coach Charlotte Checkers, Greenville Grrrowl, Pensacola Ice Pilots, Augusta Lynx
Dave Seitz


Center South Carolina Stingrays
2013 Dave Craievich


Defenseman Cincinnati Cyclones, Birmingham Bulls, Mobile Mysticks
Marc Magliarditi


Goaltender Columbus Chill, Florida Everblades, Louisiana IceGators, Richmond Renegades, Las Vegas Wranglers
Steve Poapst


Defenseman Hampton Roads Admirals
Darren Schwartz


Left Winger Johnstown Chiefs, Winston-Salem Thunderbirds, Tallahassee Tiger Sharks, Wheeling Thunderbirds/Nailers
2014 James Edwards President; Chairman Johnstown Chiefs president, Chairman of the ECHL Board of Governors (1999–2003)
Wes Goldie Right Winger Pee Dee Pride, Victoria Salmon Kings, and Alaska Aces
Al MacIsaac Defense; GM/Coach Hampton Roads Admirals
John Spoltore Center Louisiana IceGators
2015 Darren Colbourne Right Winger Dayton Bombers, Richmond Renegades, Raleigh IceCaps, Augusta Lynx
Louis Dumont Center Tallahassee Tiger Sharks, Wheeling Thunderbirds, Louisiana IceGators, Augusta Lynx, Pensacola Ice Pilots, Mississippi Sea Wolves, and Utah Grizzlies
Scott Sabatino Executive Vice President; COO League Executive
Carl Scheer Owner; Chairman Charlotte Checkers owner, Chairman of the ECHL Board of Governors, Greenville Grrrowl owner
2016 Daniel Berthiaume Goaltender Wheeling Thunderbirds, Roanoke Express and Greensboro Generals
Craig Brush General Manager Florida Everblades
Allan Sirois Left winger Baton Rouge Kingfish, Jacksonville Lizard Kings, Pee Dee Pride, Pee Dee Pride, Greenville Grrrowl, Texas Wildcatters

See also


  1. Press Release (October 13, 2008). Did You Know?. ECHL.
  2. Press Release (July 14, 2008). ECHL Toolbar Available Now. ECHL.
  3. | url =}
  4. ECHL Standings - Division.
  5. Habs name Trois-Rivieres ECHL affiliate (January 19, 2021).
  9. Press Release (March 30, 2009). ECHL Concludes Mid-Season Board of Governors Meeting. ECHL.
  10. Mastovich, Mike (February 15, 2010). Chiefs plan to move franchise to South Carolina. Tribune-Democrat.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 ECHL Press Release (January 23, 2008). Inaugural ECHL Hall Of Fame Class Announced. Retrieved on April 28, 2013.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 ECHL Press Release (November 5, 2008). 2009 ECHL Hall Of Fame Class is Brophy, Cullen, Nemeth, Taylor. ECHL. Retrieved on May 6, 2013.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 J.P. Hoornstra (December 3, 2009). 2010 ECHL Hall Of Fame announced. Inside SoCal. Retrieved on May 6, 2013.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 ECHL Press Release (November 19, 2010). ECHL Announces 2011 ECHL Hall Of Fame Class. Arena Digest. Retrieved on May 6, 2013.
  15. Mike Ashmore (January 19, 2012). ECHL Alumni Profile - Bob Woods. ECHL. Retrieved on May 5, 2013.
  16. 2012 ECHL Hall of Fame is Coffey, Gorski, Marks, Seitz, and Woods. ECHL (December 1, 2011). Retrieved on May 5, 2013.
  17. ECHL Press Release (December 1, 2011). 2012 ECHL Hall Of Fame is Coffey, Gorski, Marks, Seitz, and Woods. ECHL. Retrieved on May 5, 2013.
  18. Whitney Baumgartner (December 4, 2011). Head Coach Marks To Be Inducted Into The 2012 ECHL Hall Of Fame. Fargo Force. Retrieved on May 5, 2013.
  19. ECHL Press Release (January 18, 2013). Seitz to Enter ECHL Hall of Fame. Retrieved on April 28, 2013.
  20. ECHL Announces 2013 Hall Of Fame Class. Colorado Eagles (December 3, 2012). Retrieved on May 5, 2013.
  21. Paul De Los Santos (December 25, 2012). Former Wranglers goalie made Las Vegas his home, shined in last stop of career. Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved on May 5, 2013.
  22. Nate Haeni (December 3, 2012). Poapst among 2013 ECHL Hall Of Fame Class. Rockford IceHogs. Retrieved on May 5, 2013.
  23. Shawn Rine (December 4, 2012). Schwartz A Worthy Choice. The Intelligencer. Retrieved on May 5, 2013.

External links

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