Would the ECHL ever work in Montana or Washington?
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10-03-2011, 12:17 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Diego
I don't see Montana working for the pro game - they've had a rocky enough relationship with US junior hockey that I just don't see the pros coming in and making it work long-term... not in the current landscape. I say this as someone who lived in North Dakota for some time, and has a little more "boots on the ground" observational experience.
Washington state has the challenges people have listed above - facilities and competition with other levels of hockey (Canadian junior, US junior, etc). Tacoma was a successful entry in the WCHL for a few years, but couldn't sustain themselves in amidst the TWO WHL franchises in the area (Everett and Seattle/Kent) - I can't see a remodel being anything more than a stopgap home for an NHL team while a Seattle-based arena was built, were that to happen.
And almost completely off-topic, but I was at an NHL game at the new Amway Center in Orlando a couple of weeks ago (Tampa Bay's pre-season game against St. Louis). It's a nice enough arena, and the sightlines would definitely support an ECHL/AHL team without really much to complain about. However, the key is, would there be the right partnership between any prospective team and the NBA team that controls the arena? Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there are currently ZERO ECHL teams that play out of NBA arenas, now that Charlotte moved up to the AHL. San Antonio, Cleveland, and Charlotte are the ones I can think of that are playing in NBA arenas, but they're all AHL and above (and in many cases are either owned by the NBA team or have significant ownership overlap).
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