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Professional Hockey returning to Indy (ECHL in 2014-15)

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11-24-2013, 10:25 AM
  #1
Gibbie42
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Professional Hockey returning to Indy (ECHL in 2014-15)

Professional hockey returning to Indy

Quote:
Pro hockey is coming back.

After a decade of annual rumors and fans asking if professional minor league hockey would ever return, a local ownership group led by Carmel businessman Jim Hallett has agreed to terms with the State Fairgrounds Commission to bring an East Coast Hockey League expansion franchise to the renovated Coliseum in 2014.
Press conference Tuesday at 11 at the fairgrounds.

This article doesn't announce the name but early in the week a trademark was filed for the Indy Fuel by the Indiana Hockey Club LLC.

This will be great for the Evansville IceMen and the Ft. Wayne Komets. A new team an easy drive away. This also probable explains why there was no reconfiguration of conferences this season in the ECHL. They'll be readjustment next year to work in Indy and anyone that successfully comes over from the C.

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11-24-2013, 12:12 PM
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HansH
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Color me somewhat surprised -- and wondering how splitting the market between the USHL junior team at the Fieldhouse and the ECHL team at the fairgrounds will affect the chances of success for either team. This will be interesting to watch how it unfolds.

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11-24-2013, 12:12 PM
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No Fun Shogun
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On one hand, great news. Always viewed Indy as a fantastic minor league market.

On the other hand, shame for the USHL. At least when I went to college in that state, I always felt like the Ice did a poor job marketing themselves in that region. Not anticipating Indy being big enough for both an ECHL team and a USHL team.

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11-24-2013, 08:06 PM
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IndyHockeyFreak
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Which NHL team will the new [ECHL] Indy team affiliate with?

The Blawkhawks or Penguins would be a great fit.

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11-24-2013, 09:43 PM
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CrazyEddie20
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Let's take it down a notch until the announcement is official.

And considering that the Penguins AHL affiliate is 600-odd miles from Indianapolis, while their current ECHL affiliate is about half that distance, I don't think Pittsburgh would be a good fit.

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11-24-2013, 10:10 PM
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IndyHockeyFreak
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The Indianapolis Fuel team in the ECHL is a done deal. The Pirates AAA affiliate is in Indy and the relationship has worked very well for both sides. Distance is not an issue in this day and age.

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11-25-2013, 07:43 AM
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It'd be cool if it were the Blackhawks, but they and the Wings have a solid and proven relationship with Toledo, so I doubt it.

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11-25-2013, 10:21 AM
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CrazyEddie20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyHockeyFreak View Post
The Indianapolis Fuel team in the ECHL is a done deal. The Pirates AAA affiliate is in Indy and the relationship has worked very well for both sides. Distance is not an issue in this day and age.
Actually, yes it is. Unlike a Major League Baseball player development contract, the NHL or AHL affiliate isn't always paying for player travel costs. For example, when Johnstown was affiliated with Saint John, the Chiefs had to pay for prospects' travel in and out. If you have an active affiliate that is frequently moving players up and down, those costs can escalate quickly and eat into the ECHL club's budget if the ECHL club is on the hook for them, as they frequently are.

Also, nothing in the minor leagues is a done deal until it's actually happening. Just ask fans, players, and staff of the Tucson Gila Monsters.

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11-25-2013, 10:34 AM
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HansH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyEddie20 View Post
Also, nothing in the minor leagues is a done deal until it's actually happening. Just ask fans, players, and staff of the Tucson Gila Monsters.
The WCHL Gila Monsters played a complete season and part of another before folding mid-season.

I think you're trying to refer to the WPHL Tucson Scorch, who folded one day after the season began, having played zero games. This was a couple years after the Gila Monsters' implosion.

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11-25-2013, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HansH View Post
The WCHL Gila Monsters played a complete season and part of another before folding mid-season.

I think you're trying to refer to the WPHL Tucson Scorch, who folded one day after the season began, having played zero games. This was a couple years after the Gila Monsters' implosion.
You're correct - I had the two confused. The Scorch famously folded while the team was on the bus to their season opener.

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11-25-2013, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No Fun Shogun View Post
On one hand, great news. Always viewed Indy as a fantastic minor league market.

On the other hand, shame for the USHL. At least when I went to college in that state, I always felt like the Ice did a poor job marketing themselves in that region. Not anticipating Indy being big enough for both an ECHL team and a USHL team.
The Indiana ICE are going to be playing the majority of their games at Bankers Life now.

http://www.ibj.com/pro-hockey-return.../article/44762

So we'll have two teams in town. Unless the Ice fold or move elsewhere.

The Star also has an interesting article in it as well. They even managed to talk to the owner of the Ice.

http://www.indystar.com/article/2013...2-hockey-teams


Last edited by cwalk: 11-25-2013 at 11:51 AM. Reason: More Information from another news source
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11-25-2013, 02:28 PM
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The Indiana Ice will not be much of a factor for very long. They have had good attendance because some hard core fans want to see live hockey even though it is junior amateur. Of course, the Simon-Skodt family could always one up the Fuel by buying a struggling NHL team and moving it to Indy (wishful thinking perhaps).

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11-25-2013, 03:44 PM
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My bet is the Ice will either end up folding or moving. Quad Cities perhaps? Since it is always brought up as a possible USHL location when the CHL finally crashes. But I'm just naming that possibility.

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11-25-2013, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mk80 View Post
My bet is the Ice will either end up folding or moving. Quad Cities perhaps? Since it is always brought up as a possible USHL location when the CHL finally crashes. But I'm just naming that possibility.
For me it seems like the ECHL is losing steam in the Northeast, where it once was strong. You have Elmira, Reading and Wheeling. Even with winning the Kelly Cup last year, the Royals have not been drawing too well. Elmira and Wheeling are both down and could see one of those teams moving to Indy.
As far as Quad Cities, if the new owner they have would be willing to move to the ECHL and Peoria comes back to the ECHL - you would have a nice little group of team there in the mid-central. Don't know how many more teams you are going to get in the South and to me it would be smart for Greenville and S. Carolina to drop down to the SPHL.
Looking forward to the start of 2014 and see who will be moving and who will be losing teams for the 2014-15 season.

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11-25-2013, 04:53 PM
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CrazyEddie20
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Originally Posted by SenorChifles View Post
As far as Quad Cities, if the new owner they have would be willing to move to the ECHL and Peoria comes back to the ECHL - you would have a nice little group of team there in the mid-central.
Almost like a... MIDWEST BUS LEAGUE!

Sorry, had to.

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11-25-2013, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by SenorChifles View Post
For me it seems like the ECHL is losing steam in the Northeast, where it once was strong. You have Elmira, Reading and Wheeling. Even with winning the Kelly Cup last year, the Royals have not been drawing too well. Elmira and Wheeling are both down and could see one of those teams moving to Indy.
As far as Quad Cities, if the new owner they have would be willing to move to the ECHL and Peoria comes back to the ECHL - you would have a nice little group of team there in the mid-central. Don't know how many more teams you are going to get in the South and to me it would be smart for Greenville and S. Carolina to drop down to the SPHL.
Looking forward to the start of 2014 and see who will be moving and who will be losing teams for the 2014-15 season.
Perhaps the ECHL will absorb Adirondack when the Phantoms leave for the Lehigh Valley next year. Also Baltimore and Wilmington would make great additions to the Northeast. Over the next few years I can see the AHL spreading to the west coast and leaving some cities in the northeast, thus those cities get picked up by the ECHL. Time will tell, a 30-30-30 affiliation between the NHL, AHL and ECHL could happen at that time. Just speculating though.

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11-25-2013, 10:50 PM
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Gibbie42
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Social media and web page have come online:

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11-26-2013, 11:01 AM
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BluesOne31
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It's great to get an ECHL team in Indy but I'm with those that say it's the beginning of the end for the Ice.

I've only made the trip up to Indy this year for the USHL Fall Classic and a Sunday afternoon game against Des Moines (in Bankers Life). The Fall Classic attendance was decent but for the Sunday afternoon game, with the Colts on a bye, the attendance was awful.

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11-26-2013, 01:52 PM
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If this does impact the Indiana Ice, and it probably will, it's the doing of their own organization. The pepsi coliseum went under a $53 million renovation and although it was understandable that the Ice would use Banker's Life Fieldhouse in the meantime, they eventually would not guarantee that they would return to the coliseum. Then, Pan Am Sports Inc, a group affiliated with the Ice, signed an interim management agreement for Pan Am plaza (downtown Indy), which has a rink and is close to the Fieldhouse. Pan Am is now being used as the Ice's training facility.

The Coliseum had no other choice but to seek out a team for it's facility.

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11-26-2013, 07:53 PM
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IndyHockeyFreak
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As Toledo has the ECHL affiliation for the Redwings and Blackhawks, how about Toledo going with Detroit only and Indy with the Blackhawks. Indy was affiliated with the Blawkhawks in the CHL and IHL from 1989-1988 and is considered part of the Blawkhawks "home" market for black-out purposes on NHL Center Ice (much to my disappointment to learn after I subscribed). St. Louis would also be a good possibility as it doesn't currently have a ECHL affiliate. As an historical aside, Indy was the Redwings top affiliate in the 40's.

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11-26-2013, 08:23 PM
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SenorChifles
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhigo59 View Post
Perhaps the ECHL will absorb Adirondack when the Phantoms leave for the Lehigh Valley next year. Also Baltimore and Wilmington would make great additions to the Northeast. Over the next few years I can see the AHL spreading to the west coast and leaving some cities in the northeast, thus those cities get picked up by the ECHL. Time will tell, a 30-30-30 affiliation between the NHL, AHL and ECHL could happen at that time. Just speculating though.
The people in Glens Falls want AHL hockey, don't think they would drop down again to a lower level, Baltimore if they get a new arena and it is not put downtown. Wilmington do they have an arena or the population to suffice having a team? The East Coast has been beat down economically and you need to have a solid base of fans to start off with. Every year they say about the AHL moving West, but turn out to be rumors only. There will probably be a lot of shifting in some of the leagues and after the first of the year - hockey fans will know if their team is going to be around for the 2014-15 season.

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11-26-2013, 10:07 PM
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Going to ask a serious question ...

Are ECHL affiliations more than just window dressing? The NHL team has 23 players, the AHL team has at least 20, that leaves only about 5 players from an NHL franchise for the ECHL team, and those are the bottom 5 in the organization. But I'm not very familiar with the ECHL.


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11-26-2013, 11:46 PM
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mk80
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To answer that question...
Short Answer: Yes the ECHL is a far better league than the CHL and does send many players to higher levels.

Long Answer:
• 522 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 22 in 2012-13.

• 10 ECHL players have made their NHL debuts in 2013-14: former Reading Royals Will Acton (Edmonton on Oct. 1), former Kalamazoo Wings left wing Darren Archibald (Vancouver on Oct. 25), former Colorado Eagles defensemen Ben Chiarot (Winnipeg on Nov. 2) former San Francisco Bulls left wing Jamie Devane (Toronto on Oct. 5), former Idaho Steelheads left wing Luke Gazdic (Edmonton on Oct. 1), former Toledo Walleye center Luke Glendening (Detroit on Oct. 12), former Cincinnati Cyclones goaltender Magnus Hellberg (Nashville on Oct. 26), former Wheeling Nailers center Zach Sill (Pittsburgh on Nov. 16), former Greenville Road Warriors goaltender Cam Talbot (New York Rangers on Oct. 24) and former Ontario Reign goaltender Jeff Zatkoff (Pittsburgh on Oct. 11).

• The ECHL has had 330 players reach the NHL since 2002-03 when it changed its focus to become the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. The ECHL had 97 players reach the NHL in its first 10 seasons and 215 in the first 15 years.

• 266 ECHL players have played their first game in the last nine seasons for an average of more than 29 per year.

• ECHL had a record 93 players on NHL opening-day rosters in 2013-14, surpassing the 87 from 2012-13 and marking the 11th year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.

• 30 coaches with an ECHL background are working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma, New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, Florida Panthers interim head coach Peter Horachek and Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel. It is the ninth consecutive season that there have been 11 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL.


• 27 former ECHL officials are scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2013-14 with referees Darcy Burchell, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Mike Leggo, Dave Lewis, T.J. Luxmore, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Graham Skilliter, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.

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Old
11-27-2013, 12:03 AM
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crimsonace
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So, essentially, there's an average of 29 per year who get called up.


Last edited by crimsonace: 05-19-2014 at 07:24 AM.
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11-27-2013, 12:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyHockeyFreak View Post
As Toledo has the ECHL affiliation for the Redwings and Blackhawks, how about Toledo going with Detroit only and Indy with the Blackhawks. Indy was affiliated with the Blawkhawks in the CHL and IHL from 1989-1988 and is considered part of the Blawkhawks "home" market for black-out purposes on NHL Center Ice (much to my disappointment to learn after I subscribed). St. Louis would also be a good possibility as it doesn't currently have a ECHL affiliate. As an historical aside, Indy was the Redwings top affiliate in the 40's.
Random question but are the Blues blacked out up there? In Bloomington the Hawks have always been blacked out and then randomly a month ago they started blacking out the Blues.

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