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ECHL: Please Expand and Stop Making Me Nuts

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Old
02-10-2011, 01:16 PM
  #1
Professor Pickles
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ECHL: Please Expand and Stop Making Me Nuts

Or atleast give me more western teams in the CHL.

The lack of symmetry in the ECHL conferences drives me bonkers and makes my head hurt. We all know Reno is never getting a team, and the ECHL is just humoring them to collect the fee each year. Not a bad tactic.

There has got to be 4 people on the west coast who can get a franchise started. There's plenty of large to medium to even medium-small markets to explore.

Either that, or add more in the east and make the western-most Eastern conference division play in the west in the playoffs.

How about the SPHL? Are any of those franchises run well enough that they could handle an ECHL franchise? Surely those owners would like to move up in the world.

I also dont like how the ECHL is scared to go to battle w/ the CHL. The ECHL is a better prduct and is more marketable.

In a perfect world, the ECHL would go to 30 and have a 1-1-1 affiliation between NHL-AHL-ECHL.

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02-10-2011, 01:40 PM
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billycanuck
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I think the ECHL should first change the league name from "ECHL" to a name that means something.

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02-10-2011, 01:44 PM
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Alright, the ECHL expand because you choose to allow yourself to go "bonkers" trying to understand the uneven conferences?

There may be markets, but are there suitable arenas? Interest in the markets? Either from the ECHL's standpoint or the community's possible interest in hockey?

Knoxville is run very well and could handle an ECHL franchise. They don't want to move up and its not because they don't want to "move up in the world." It costs less to run an SPHL team and they draw very nicely. Lower expenses = more profit.

Where are you getting your information that the ECHL is scared to battle with the CHL?

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02-10-2011, 04:48 PM
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Yeah hopefully the economy climbs and people take chances again. I'd really like to see at least 3 more teams in the west and east. Esp for the west those guys have it bad.

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02-10-2011, 05:50 PM
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Expansion in west is going to be difficult because of the expense. Many of the teams in the east are close enough to bus to games but that isn't the case in the west. Other than maybe Bakersfield, Stockton and Ontario when they play each other, every other trip is by air. CA. is about at its saturation point between NHL, ECHL and Junior teams. I can't think of a good fit in WA. or OR. (nobody will want to go against the Winter Hawks or T-Birds there). Reno would be an obvious choice in NV. but they have no arena. CO. has the Avs and Eagles. Montana and Wyoming don't have much hockey but I can't think of anyplace with facilities that work in any of their larger cities.

There has been expansion in the west but it's in the Junior leagues. The NAHL(26 teams) and WSHL (13 teams) have both expanded in the past couple of seasons in the west. They jumped into the boderline ECHL markets and will probably keep the ECHL from venturing there anytime soon. These two leagues have teams in CA, CO, WA, NM, TX, AZ, ND, ID, OK, SD, KS and AK and also in BC. Fresno folded its ECHL team and now has a team in both the NAHL and WSHL. Phoenix had the ECHL leave and 2 WSHL teams show up. San Diego has a WSHL team and you still have WHL teams that have been in Portland and Seattle for years now.

Real fans of the game of hockey will support a Junior team just as much as a "AA" pro team if that's all there is in their town and a Junior team is much cheaper to operate. They have no payroll and they can play in lesser facilities. Here in Boise the support is greater for our ECHL team over the WSHL team but if the ECHL team went away people would switch to the Junior team. I would love to see more ECHL expansion in the west but I don't see anyplace new that has either the fanbase or facilities to do a new organization. Only option I would see is a CHL team moving over. But with the cost of running an ECHL team being greater than a CHL team I don't see what the advantage would be. Even at that only Colorado, Rapid City or Arizona would even be an option.

Maybe a day will come when NHL teams will own their ECHL affiliate teams as some do now with their AHL affiliates and then you might see expansion.

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02-10-2011, 10:34 PM
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LadyStanley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billycanuck View Post
I think the ECHL should first change the league name from "ECHL" to a name that means something.
Each or Every Coast Hockey League? Excellent Certaintude Hockey League?

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Originally Posted by Steelhead16 View Post
Expansion in west is going to be difficult because of the expense. Many of the teams in the east are close enough to bus to games but that isn't the case in the west. Other than maybe Bakersfield, Stockton and Ontario when they play each other, every other trip is by air. CA.
Vegas is ~4 hours from Bakersfield, perhaps the same (or less) from Ontario. (And it's about 3-4 hours from Stockton to Bakersfield. ~3 hours from Bakersfield to Ontario.)

Those four teams often do back-to-back overnight bus trips.

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02-10-2011, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Steelhead16 View Post
Expansion in west is going to be difficult because of the expense. Many of the teams in the east are close enough to bus to games but that isn't the case in the west. Other than maybe Bakersfield, Stockton and Ontario when they play each other, every other trip is by air.
It sounds like you are talking about the AHL!

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02-11-2011, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by LadyStanley View Post
Each or Every Coast Hockey League? Excellent Certaintude Hockey League?



Vegas is ~4 hours from Bakersfield, perhaps the same (or less) from Ontario. (And it's about 3-4 hours from Stockton to Bakersfield. ~3 hours from Bakersfield to Ontario.)

Those four teams often do back-to-back overnight bus trips.
I thought afterward that Vegas might be in the bus loop with the other 3 but I wasn't sure. It's only 4.5-5 hours from Boise to SLC but Idaho flies there. They fly to all games except if they have a trip with Stockton, Bakersfield and Ontario in then they fly to the first and bus to the others. Either way the cost for the western teams is greater than most of the teams in the east. It was at least nice before the economy took a crap that there was at least one trip east every year for the western teams and a trip west for the eastern teams. Maybe we can at least get back to that in the next few years.

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02-11-2011, 01:38 AM
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Idaho/Utah aren't exactly "good" travel places during the winter, and there are a LOT of mountains.

Victoria, Alaska have to fly everywhere.

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02-11-2011, 08:19 AM
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Reno / San Diego / Sacramento would all be nice choices, as would Phoenix. How well does the Arizona CHL team do in Prescott Valley?

The proximity issue is not all that strong though, b/c the ECHL will put a team wherever there's interest and an arena. Florida / Anchorage are far away from other franchises. The next closest team to Anchorage is Victoria which is 2200 miles away.

Fresno would be another decent option, and I disagree that CA is getting saturated. I doubt that many ppl from Fresno trek to Stockton to see games on a regular basis. There's enough ppl here to support these teams.

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02-11-2011, 08:46 AM
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Just looking at the map briefly, here are some cities that make regional sense, although that is not necessarily a determining factor. I havent looked up any arenas.

Reno/Carson City
Phoenix
Tucson
San Diego
Sacramento
Reading?
Eugene/Salem
Flagstaff

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02-11-2011, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by LadyStanley View Post
Each or Every Coast Hockey League? Excellent Certaintude Hockey League?
Or how about CHL - Coast Hockey League

Whenever I am in the US and try to explain the different pro hockey leagues, my conversation goes like this:
Me: "... and then there is the ECHL"
American: "What does the ECHL stand for?"
Me: "Nothing, just called the ECHL."
American: "So it's actually called the ECHL Hockey League? ECHLHL?"
Me: "No, just ECHL"
American: , "But what does it mean??"

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02-11-2011, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by billycanuck View Post
Or how about CHL - Coast Hockey League

Whenever I am in the US and try to explain the different pro hockey leagues, my conversation goes like this:
Me: "... and then there is the ECHL"
American: "What does the ECHL stand for?"
Me: "Nothing, just called the ECHL."
American: "So it's actually called the ECHL Hockey League? ECHLHL?"
Me: "No, just ECHL"
American: , "But what does it mean??"
ECHL(aV)


Entire Country Hockey League (and Victoria)

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02-11-2011, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Steelhead16 View Post
ECHL(aV)


Entire Country Hockey League (and Victoria)

We have a winner.

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02-11-2011, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Professor Pickles View Post
The proximity issue is not all that strong though, b/c the ECHL will put a team wherever there's interest and an arena. Florida / Anchorage are far away from other franchises. The next closest team to Anchorage is Victoria which is 2200 miles away.
Hardly a valid arguement. The ECHL didn't put a team in Alaska, the WCHL did and when the WCHL went under it's former teams were already established when they joined the ECHL.

And Florida may be far from other teams now but let's look at when they came into the league: Miami, Jacksonville, Augusta, Greenville, South Carolina, Pee Dee, Charlotte, Pensacola, Tallahassee, Mobile, Mississippi. All with in 12 hour drives. Not the most desirable but not exactly placed far away from the other teams.

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02-11-2011, 01:06 PM
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Reno / San Diego / Sacramento would all be nice choices, as would Phoenix. How well does the Arizona CHL team do in Prescott Valley?

The proximity issue is not all that strong though, b/c the ECHL will put a team wherever there's interest and an arena. Florida / Anchorage are far away from other franchises. The next closest team to Anchorage is Victoria which is 2200 miles away.

Fresno would be another decent option, and I disagree that CA is getting saturated. I doubt that many ppl from Fresno trek to Stockton to see games on a regular basis. There's enough ppl here to support these teams.

Just as a point of interest for myself, how long have you been a fan of the ECHL or minor league hockey in general? I'm not trying to be a ****** I am just curious as to how far back you go with it. I'm all for anyone who is a fan of minor league hockey but your list in this post and the one in your last post is filled with places that have had teams that have folded.

Fresno has lots of people and they have supported a team in some form of minor league hockey for 30 years. When they played in Selland Arena they could survive in the PCHL and WCHL but with all the new and newer facilities in the ECHL and even CHL it didn't fit the ECHL. They tried moving to Save Mart but their lease was so high they couldn't survive and folded mid season. The Monsters play in Selland now and have drawn more than 5000 people numerous times so you are correct about the interest but an ECHL team needs a better facility.

San Diego is almost a carbon copy of Fresno except they didn't even have a nicer but too expensive facility. The San Diego Sports Arena is awful and that is the only option. The Junior Gulls are playing in Escondido and not even using the SDSA.

Phoenix would be great if the Coyotes left. Minor league teams can do fine in NHL towns in hockey markets. Phoenix is far from a hockey market. It's a retirement and vacation town, neither of which is a good target audience for minor league hockey. U.S. is a fine facility but probably too expensive for an ECHL franchise to survive.

Sac. might be an option in 5-10 years but honestly Sac. and the entire CA. Central Valley for that matter has been decimated by the economy. Stockton is less than an hour from Downtown Sac. and an hour travel to anything in the Bay Area or Stockton, Sacramento area is common and doesn't keep people away. I lived in the Bay Area for 30 years and my family still lives in the East Bay. I go to Stockton games when I am there and it takes me just under an hour from that direction as well. Stockton's attendance has been good but down from 2 years ago and they draw from Sac. so a team in Sac. would be sharing many of the same people.

You already know the issue with Reno. Same issue applies for Tuscon on your other list. Both places also had WCHL teams that folded.

Not sure if you were going for "Redding" on your other list? If so, no way. Too small and most people who live in Redding are up there to "escape" the hustle and bustle of city life and all that comes with it.

Flagstaff may be a better CHL option rather than ECHL. Don't know how much the ECHL wants to put a new team so close to someone else's back yard. Maybe if there was a CHL/ECHL merger it would be a great place. I could see the Eagles and/or Sun Dogs joining the ECHL before a new ECHL team hits those markets however.

As for CA. being at it's hockey saturation point. Right now with the state of the economy I can't see another pro team at any level finding success right now. (3) NHL teams (3) ECHL teams (6) Jr. A teams are all surviving at the moment but only the Sharks are filling the building. Fresno, Long Beach, San Diego all failed to sustain minor league hockey in So.Cal. Phoenix and Tucson failed in AZ. Colorado Springs in CO. Reno in NV, Tacoma in WA. and Fairbanks in AK. all couldn't sustain a franchise when the economy was much better. Not gonna be easier now to get a new arena built.

The best expansion option I see for the west right now is an AHL team owned by the Sharks, Ducks or Kings coming in. Making money isn't their top priority so they could draw 3000-4000 a night and be fine. I don't believe any of those teams are in position to move because of existing lease agreements with their AHL clubs. And the Sharks use the cross country trip for call ups as a tool so they don't want to move. They would put their AAA team in England if they could.

I'm all for your enthusiasm and share your frustration. Hopefully we can get back to a point where the ECHL teams will get back to everyone having an East to West or West to East trip again during the season so we can see some other teams. I write an online column for the Steelheads and I am bored trying to find new thiings to write about seeing the same teams over and over again. I don't know where in CA. you are but I've gotten more into Junior hockey since we got a Junior A team last year and that's helped braek up the monotony some. Check it out if it's close by.

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02-11-2011, 01:07 PM
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It doesnt matter if they were in the WCHL, the ECHL still PUT A FRANCHISE in Anchorage. Not sure why this is so hard to understand.

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02-11-2011, 01:09 PM
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I'm still waiting for the Bruins to put an ECHL team in Lowell.

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02-11-2011, 01:17 PM
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Minor league franchises and cities fluctuate much more than top-level professional franchises and cities. That's why every decent sized market is, at the end of the day, still an option even if the city had a franchise and they couldn't make it. If someone was interested in building an arena in San Diego or Fresno, the ECHL would listen. There's no reason why they shouldn't.

Thank you for the good response.

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02-11-2011, 01:24 PM
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CHL would only work if they merged with the Central Hockey League -- otherwise way too much confusion. (There already is with the major junior leagues using that abbreviation. )

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Just looking at the map briefly, here are some cities that make regional sense, although that is not necessarily a determining factor. I havent looked up any arenas.

Reno/Carson City - no arena
Phoenix - ECHL/predecessors have twice failed there
Tucson - not certain of arena situation
San Diego - needs new arena
Sacramento - needs new arena (lots of Shark fans, a number who travel 2+ hours each way to games in SJ)
Reading? - Redding? Not certain of arena situation, but damn hot in summer so the costs are probably on the high side.
Eugene/Salem - nasty travel across CA-OR border; not certain of arena situation
Flagstaff - not certain of arena situation; can be horrendous winter travel issues
Fresno - I never saw them play in Selland, only in CSUF arena, and they were hardly filling lower bowl

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02-11-2011, 03:30 PM
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I'm still waiting for the Bruins to put an ECHL team in Lowell.
Unfortunately, I think you will be waiting for an awfully long time for that to happen.

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02-11-2011, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Professor Pickles View Post
Minor league franchises and cities fluctuate much more than top-level professional franchises and cities. That's why every decent sized market is, at the end of the day, still an option even if the city had a franchise and they couldn't make it. If someone was interested in building an arena in San Diego or Fresno, the ECHL would listen. There's no reason why they shouldn't.

Thank you for the good response.
Not gonna argue that point. But that has nothing to do with you wishing the ECHL would expand in the west. It's not the ECHL not wanting to do it or that they told someone no. I'm sure they would love to expand to the markets you mentioned after losing so many teams here. Nobody is saying that your list is bad, just not feasable right now. But a new building has nothing to do with the ECHL. Your thread should have read "Someone please build an arena so the ECHL can expand".
I just can't imagine anyone smart enough to make enough money to be able to build an arena even thinking about building an arena. They would have had to have failed "Business 101". And none of the cities that you mentioned would even explore that option right now. Some of those markets will get teams again but not anytime soon.

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02-11-2011, 08:57 PM
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It doesnt matter if they were in the WCHL, the ECHL still PUT A FRANCHISE in Anchorage. Not sure why this is so hard to understand.
It's not. They were all technically expansion franchises but the ECHL was not going to say, "You're all welcome ... except Alaska." And if I remember correctly, it was essentially an all or nothing thing with the west coast teams.

Nice acknowledgment of the second half of my point.

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02-11-2011, 08:58 PM
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Unfortunately, I think you will be waiting for an awfully long time for that to happen.
I think it's only a matter of time before the ECHL moves into New England. I'm sure Worcester is going to lose the Sharks, there going to want to move them out west. Think an ECHL Bruins team would work well in Lowell. The place is designed for hockey and Lowell hockey fans would definitely support a Boston team. I know it's a long shot, but think it would be a smart move.

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02-11-2011, 09:59 PM
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I think it's only a matter of time before the ECHL moves into New England. I'm sure Worcester is going to lose the Sharks, there going to want to move them out west. Think an ECHL Bruins team would work well in Lowell. The place is designed for hockey and Lowell hockey fans would definitely support a Boston team. I know it's a long shot, but think it would be a smart move.
Like to KC?

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