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Thread: 2014 Silly Season

  1. #1
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    2014 Silly Season

    American Hockey League
    ADD:
    Adirondack Flames; former Abbotsford Heat franchise relocation
    Lehigh Valley Phantoms; former Adirondack Phantoms franchise relocation

    LOSE:
    Abbotsford Heat; moving to Glenn Falls, NY to become the Adirondack Flames
    Adirondack Phantoms; moving to Allentown, PA to become the Lehigh Valley Phantoms

    ECHL
    ADD:
    Indy Fuel; expansion based in Indianapolis, IN

    LOSE:
    Las Vegas Wranglers; the franchise is suspending operations due to arena issues. The Orleans Arena's owners didn't want to renew the lease and the Plaza Hotel & Casino rink project is dead because too expensive. Las Vegas may come back in 2015-2016 if they find somewhere to play.

    A new division alignment was adopted. The Eastern Conference is now made of the 5-team each North and South Divisions while there is a 5-team Midwest Division and a 6-team Pacific Division in the Western Conference. Funny thing, Colorado Eagles will not face any of their fellow Midwest Division teams next season.


    Central Hockey League


    Southern Professional Hockey League
    LOSE:
    Mississippi Surge; indefinitely suspend operations due to financial situation
    Bloomington Thunder; folded, replaced by an USHL namesake

    Two years after suspending operations, he Augusta RiverHawks franchise will be back in 2015-2016 as the Macon Mayhem.

    Federal Hockey League
    ADD:
    South West Pennsylvania Magic; expansion based in Rostraver Township, PA
    Watertown team; expansion based in Watertown, NY

    LOSE:
    Watertown Privateers; folded

    The North Atlantic Professional Hockey League, another Northeastern Single A minor league, was supposed to begin next season but decided to postpone for a year so to "insure a quality product". Their Free Agent Camp will be used by the FHL and the Berkshire Black Bears, the only NAPHL team to have some kind of a base, may have talked with them to join the league.

  2. #2
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    Federal Hockey League

    There will be teams in the FHL with the addition of a Berlin, NH-based franchise.

    http://thefederalhockeyleague.points...39/news_161682

  3. #3
    IHF Member Conesy's Avatar
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    Related to this is Puck Daddy's article about the potential shift in minor league hockey: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-pu...091626868.html
    Twitter: @CSmeeth

  4. #4
    IHF Staff Steigs's Avatar
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    Well THAT is interesting now.

  5. #5
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    Very interesting............it would fundamentally alter the structure of professional minor league hockey in North America.

    And to be honest, it would make a hell of a lot more sense than the mishmash we have now.

  6. #6
    IHF Member Conesy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Brunengraber View Post
    Very interesting............it would fundamentally alter the structure of professional minor league hockey in North America.

    And to be honest, it would make a hell of a lot more sense than the mishmash we have now.
    Not to mention it would most likely make for compelling hockey. Rivalries would be able to flourish given the proximity to each other, instead of flying cross country.
    Twitter: @CSmeeth

  7. #7
    IHF Staff Trim's Avatar
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    I have to ask though, even though there's a prestige to playing in a higher level league with a higher skill set, not all players are paid by the NHL parent clubs. For teams from the CHL, do they actually have the capital to play up? Even the ECHL has teams going into yearly suspensions without home ice from budget problems...
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  8. #8
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    If the CHL gets absorbed by the ECHL, the plan is, as I understand it, for each NHL team to have both AHL and ECHL affiliations. That will help ECHL teams, as a certain number of players will be paid by the NHL affiliated club. In addition, if every ECHL team ends up affiliating with an NHL team the way the AHL teams do, it should, in theory, help them to get business sponsorships they couldn't otherwise attract.

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    IHF Member Conesy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Brunengraber View Post
    If the CHL gets absorbed by the ECHL, the plan is, as I understand it, for each NHL team to have both AHL and ECHL affiliations. That will help ECHL teams, as a certain number of players will be paid by the NHL affiliated club.
    I'd be interested in seeing how the remaining few minor leagues would react to this. For example, how would the call ups work for the SPHL given more contracted players comprising spots in the ECHL?
    Twitter: @CSmeeth

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    Just happen to check out the CHL website and found out there will be only 7 teams playing this season. Both Arizona Sundogs and Denver Cutthroats suspended their operations for the coming season with plans to come back the following one. It doesn't bode well for the CHL following the recent buzz.

    http://www.arizonasundogs.com/news/h...rticle_id=2846
    http://www.centralhockeyleague.com/n...ticle_id=11184

    So after a 66-game regular season, the top two teams will receive a bye for the playoffs semifinals while the teams ranked third to sixth will go through a first round. Both the opening round and the semifinals will be Best-of-5 series while the finals will be Best-of-7.

    http://www.centralhockeyleague.com/n...ticle_id=11195
    http://www.centralhockeyleague.com/n...ticle_id=11197

  11. #11
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    Bad, bad news for the Central Hockey League. The league's collapse has been rumored for a couple of years now, and I have a hunch that this will indeed be its final season before folding. It's a shame, as this is the last minor pro league in North America that is truly independent of the NHL, following the collapse of the old IHL (which used to compete with the AHL & had some teams, but not all, affiliated with the NHL), the Colonial/United/(new)International League, and the West Coast Hockey League. I realize that the Federal league may still be kicking around, along with the LNAH in Quebec, but those are more semipro than truly pro leagues. Sad news for hockey in North America.

  12. #12
    IHF Staff Trim's Avatar
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    Some CHL teams have NHL affiliations. In some ways, I'm surprised the low-level league has lasted this long given the economic hit was six years ago. It will be a shame if the CHL folds because there is still a place for it in the North American system. The ECHL is a pretty good league and can be a jump for some juniors or collegians. The talent could trickle down to the FHL but given it's history, it is almost the Farce Hockey League and I think some players would even try to avoid that.

    It would be good to see the NHL subsidize player contracts down through the minors, perhaps a minimum of a dozen players per level but seeing as they are concerned about profit margins and that few CHL players work their way into NHL roles, I can't see that ever happening.
    Bringing ice hockey to Northwest China!

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  13. #13
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    The Central League teams with NHL affiliations would have only 3-6 players whose rights are held by an NHL team....barely a true affiliation.

  14. #14
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    Rumors for most of last season had Winnipeg looking to move its AHL affiliation out of St. John's in Newfoundland due to the far distance between Winnipeg and St. John's, as well as the fact that Newfoundland is remote from basically every other AHL team, located as it is in the far northeast of Canada. See here (posts #13 & 14).... http://www.internationalhockey.net/f...-Ahl-2013-2014

    This was sad for the fans of St. John's, who have really supported the team, and for the franchise owners of St. John's, who saw ticket sales and merchandise sales plummet due to the rumors.

    Good news for the fans and owners of the St. John's club, for at least the next two years: http://theahl.com/jets-icecaps-exten...iation-p193494

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Brunengraber View Post
    Rumors for most of last season had Winnipeg looking to move its AHL affiliation out of St. John's in Newfoundland due to the far distance between Winnipeg and St. John's, as well as the fact that Newfoundland is remote from basically every other AHL team, located as it is in the far northeast of Canada. See here (posts #13 & 14).... http://www.internationalhockey.net/f...-Ahl-2013-2014

    This was sad for the fans of St. John's, who have really supported the team, and for the franchise owners of St. John's, who saw ticket sales and merchandise sales plummet due to the rumors.

    Good news for the fans and owners of the St. John's club, for at least the next two years: http://theahl.com/jets-icecaps-exten...iation-p193494
    I have been reading several NA sources/sites of "minor hockey league" merger/remap. Some NHL west teams want obviously to move their AHL farm teams towards cities like Bakersfield, Ontario, Stockton been mentioned, Also of an eventually ECHL/CHL merger since CHL is already down to 7 teams and it seems could be the last season for the old classic minor league. I just wonder how much substance and serious talks it has been over there to these news rumours? I read Thunder Bay might be a new home for IceCaps but it seems they don´t even have AHL standard arena and split opinions of if people in TB would even support a team. As it said Fat Lady has not sing yet so it will interesting to follow what happens in leagues below NHL.

  16. #16
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    I'm glad for St. John's and its fans. Hopefully they keep the Ice Caps long term, whether Winnipeg remains the affiliated NHL team or another one steps in. St. John's has proven that its city is a good AHL city with a lot of fan support and interest.

  17. #17
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    Realcloutier, just in case you were not aware - in early October, Syracuse & Binghamton of the AHL will be playing a few games against each other in France. Syracuse will also play against Lyon and Binghamton will also play against Grenoble.

  18. #18
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    The new PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, will hold its inaugural hockey event on September 27, 2014, when the Philadelphia Flyers pay a visit for an exhibition game against their AHL Lehigh Valley Phantoms farm team.

  19. #19
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    The game between the Flyers and Phantoms did not take place. Instead, the squads mixed together and played an 'orange vs. white' game in Flyers' home and away jerseys. Lame!

  20. #20
    IHF Member Conesy's Avatar
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    From what I've been seeing on Twitter, the ECHL and the CHL apparently agreed at the last minute to merge. This is preliminary, but it is a good sign, if this is true.
    Twitter: @CSmeeth

  21. #21
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    I looked but didn't see it. I would presume the ECHL would absorb the remaining 7 Central League teams in time for the 2015/2016 season? I know they won't, but I wish they would change the 'ECHL' name. The league is spread from coast to coast, not just in the East, and despite their insistence that it doesn't stand for the 'East Coast Hockey League' any longer, EVERYBODY throughout the hockey world still calls it that (except the ECHL's front office, perhaps). I see it done on NHL broadcasts all the time. Same thing with NCAA college hockey broadcasts.

  22. #22
    IHF Member Geoff's Avatar
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    One of my biggest pet peeves is people calling it the East Coast Hockey League. That said, I'll occasionally refer to it as "the Coast" myself. lol

    It'll be interesting to see if this does go through. One thing to remember, we knew a whole season before the WCHL died that it was going to die and that the western teams would be welcomed into the ECHL as expansion teams. We could see a lame duck CHL season.

  23. #23
    IHF Staff Trim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    We could see a lame duck CHL season.
    So your prediction has Quad City taking the Miron Cup?
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  25. #25
    IHF Member Conesy's Avatar
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    Also, here's from the ECHL themself: http://www.echl.com/echl-accepts-sev...embers-p194005
    Twitter: @CSmeeth

  26. #26
    IHF Staff Trim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Brunengraber View Post
    I would presume the ECHL would absorb the remaining 7 Central League teams in time for the 2015/2016 season?
    Turns out its even more rushed than that. In the ECHL link provided by Conesy, they state "[t]he seven expansion teams will begin play in the ECHL this season, giving the League 28 teams in 20 states and one Canadian province for its 27th season of operation, which begins on Friday, Oct. 17 and runs through Saturday, April 11."
    Bringing ice hockey to Northwest China!

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