Victoria, BC to join ECHL for 2004-2005
Monday Sep 22, 2003
PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Monday that it will welcome Victoria, British Columbia as its newest member, and the first ECHL member outside of the United States.
Victoria will begin playing in the ECHL in 2004-05 at the Victoria Arena, a $30 million state-of-the-art multipurpose facility with a seating capacity of 7,000, scheduled to open in the Fall of 2004.
The Victoria membership is a relocation of the Baton Rouge membership whose sale and request for voluntary suspension for 2003-04 were approved by the ECHL Board of Governors. The membership is owned by RG Properties and represented by Graham Lee, who is President of RG Properties.
“The ECHL is excited to welcome Victoria into the league,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “We are confident that the combination of strong ownership, a good building and the support of hockey fans in the Victoria market will prove to be an enormous success in the ECHL. Victoria fits nicely into the Western Conference and we expect that it will quickly develop rivalries within the Pacific Division.”
Victoria Arena will be managed by RG Arenas, a division of RG Properties which is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition to the Victoria Arena, RG Arenas manages and/or owns facilities in Kelowna, Greater Vancouver, and Parksville.
The ECHL welcomes nine new markets for 2003-04, including six from the former West Coast Hockey League, with the addition of the Alaska Aces, the Bakersfield Condors, the Fresno Falcons, the Gwinnett (Georgia) Gladiators, the Idaho (Boise) Steelheads, the Las Vegas Wranglers, the Long Beach Ice Dogs, the San Diego Gulls, and the Texas (Beaumont) Wildcatters.
The ECHL surpassed a milestone in 2002-03 as the 200th former ECHL player advanced to the National Hockey League. Twenty former ECHL players made their first-ever NHL appearances in 2002-03 and 90 former ECHL alums played in the NHL last season. In addition to 215 former players, the ECHL has had on-ice officials, front-office personnel and coaches advance to the NHL. Washington Capitals Coach Bruce Cassidy and veteran linesman Tim Nowak, who worked the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals, both began their careers in the ECHL.
Taken from www.echl.com
People in Victoria aren't too thrilled. It's not that they're pissed off, it's just that they voted to build the new arena based on promises of a new WHL franchise.
I don't think Victoria will support this team too well.
BTW, when will the ECHL change its name with the merger with the WCHL?
I posted this on the Nucks board and I'll post it here as well:
All I have to say about this is that I'm pissed off. VERY pissed off.
And local Times Colonist writer here, Cleve Dheensaw actually defended the echl.
I was stunned. He was actually saying the echl was better than the whl. I almost barfed all over the paper. He was actually pissing on the W and saying having the echl here would be way better.
I'll have to see what the prices will be, but I don't think I'll be going to many games. The level of hockey is just too bad. In the chl, you see the stars of tomorrow. In the echl you see.....the rejects of yesterday.
Very unfortunate. I think Victoria would support a whl team very well. I know for sure that I'd go to A LOT of games, which is more than I can say for the echl.
Seems dumb if you ask me, but I guess keeping a recognizable name is a big factor in the decision.
Right, they've already "changed" the name, to just be ECHL, no longer the East Coast Hockey League. Although it seems dumb at first glance, I can see why they did it, the league had a widely recognized name and good reputation. Why throw that away.
It's untrue that the ECHL is rejects, as the average age is around 23 or 24. It's guys out of college and juniors who still hope to make it. That will likley become more true this year as they tinker with the veteran rules. The quality of play is better than juniors, in my opinion. Not by leaps and bounds, but somewhat.
But still, do I want to see guys who most likely will never make it, and if they do, it will be as fourth liners, or do I want to see future nhl superstars?
I think the answer is easy.
I dont see how players in the WHL will be future NHL Superstars?? Do you want to elaborate??
The WHL is not a professional league and it definitely won't be close to the quality of play that the other major juniors leagues offer. I'd personally rather see the ECHL - most guys are still young and considered prospects, and you wouldn't have to drive very far to see other WHL or junior hockey.
ECHL - just because the guys aren't popular and might now always go to the top doesn't mean its not good hockey...
i believe that is the unofficial motto of the CHL come see the stars of tomorrow today,personally i would rather watch a WHL or anytype of Junior hockey over the ECHL, im not saying its bad hockey but people in Canada generally love Junior Hockey and the ECHL may not see that being in Canada is a good thing because I dont think they can compete with the CHL.
I edited it BTW
I'll respond to this edit:
Take a look at these names who have graduated from WHL teams...I included some of the better known current prospects too...
Brandon Wheat Kings
Moose Jaw Warriors
Shaun Van Allen
Calgary Hitmen (in existance since 95-96)
Medicine Hat Tigers
Red Deer Rebels
Swift Current Broncos
Dave (Tiger) Williams
Prince George Cougars
Grant Fuhr (Victoria Cougars)
Russ Courtnall (Victoria Cougars)
Geoff Courtnall (Victoria Cougars)
Tri City Americans
I was unable to find alumni lists from the follwing teams (some players I know of in brackets):
Prince Albert Raiders (Scott Hartnell)
Regina Pats (Jeff Friesen, Barret Jackman)
Lethbridge Hurricanes (Chris Phillips)
Kelowna/Tacoma Rockets (Kyle McLaren, Scott Hannan)
Kootenay Ice (Dan Blackburn, Steve McCarthy, Mike Comrie)
Portland Winterhawks (Marian Hossa, Brendan Morrow, Mark Messier, Adam Deadmarsh, Andrew Ference)
Spokane Chiefs (Valeri Bure, Bryan McCabe)
I did not include the Vancouver Giants, who are in their 3rd year of existance, and the Everett Silvertips who are only 2 games into their existance.
Now tell me...
How can you criticize the WHL for its quality of major junior hockey in comparison to the other 2 leagues...
And honestly, who would you rather watch....the next Joe Sakic, or Steve Dowhy? Seriously...20 year-olds cut from WHL teams go to the ECHL.
is the quality of hockey better in the echl? for the most part, maybe.. but the players are also what, around 4 or 5 yrs older in most cases...
as for the quality of players in the echl.. i've got two words.. blake robson .. pg folk will understand me..
i won't take anything away from either league, they are not comparable imo
I obviously don't follow these leagues or I'd know b/c I do live in Victoria but I am curious nonetheless.
They tried to get a whl team, but it just couldn't happen. There was talk of the Prince Albert Raiders coming here, but nothing came of that. And with the Everett Silvertips(?) coming into the league next year, the league is pretty much full. It would take some heavy duty realignment to fit Victoria in and it just wouldn't work.
So we get stuck with the next best thing, which unfortunately, is the echl.
the silvertips began their reign as a franchise this year.. and they are 0-2 :)
It is conceivable that one of these teams move to Victoria and Kootenay moves back to the Central Division....but this is something that the WHL Board of Governors would only approve if they have absolutely no other choice.
Well I just thought that Victoria would be happy to see some hockey in the city. :dunno:
We'll see how things go...
My cousin was up from Victoria a few weeks ago (before the Victoria team was for sure), and we chatted about the subject. He says that all the campaigning for the new arena was for a WHL tenant. He thinks that if the ECHL was marketed as the main tenant for the arena, the vote would have been largely in favour of "NO".
The building has 7,300 seats. I think the team will average no more than 3,000-3,500 per game.
3,000 to 3,500 isn't horrible - but not very good compared to ECHL standards. Places around here really have a nice average crowd capacity (Trenton and Atlantic City)...
I've been following the ECHL the last few years and it's seemed to me that NHL teams are focusing more and more on making it a development league. Teams DO send prospects to ECHL affiliates. Not great prospects, but decent players. And it's a trend that I think is going to continue. You're going to see more of a focus on developing players in the ECHL. It's not great hockey, but it's fun. The Renegades games I've been to have always been exciting, often more interesting than AHL games. It's not that bad a league.
As for the name change, well all the good league names have already been taken. What were they going to call it, the IHL? The best I could think of was the Southern Hockey League but that doesn't even apply well anymore.
Quellet...while 3,000-3,500 may not be that bad, Victoria is a city of approximately 300,000 with a lot more population in the surrounding area of the southern tip of Vancouver Island. This team is going to be marketed to other cities like Duncan and Nanaimo, which are an hour or two drive from Victoria. I know people on the island, and they would all rather see the WHL.
Van you're really bitter about this whole thing, just accept it for what it is and move on... :rolleyes:
Ruckus - yes, the ECHL is a lot of fun - always entertaining and I think its really on the rise. As for the name, its just the "ECHL" it doesn't stand for anything, they just wanted to keep the good reputation.
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