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Report: ECHL and CHL to merge

Aug 6, 2014, 10:06 AM EDT

The East Coast Hockey League and Central Hockey League are reportedly in talks to merge.

According to hockey agent Darryl Wolski, the president of the 2112 Hockey Agency, the two professional hockey leagues, which have teams primarily in the U.S., could merge as early as the 2015-16 season.

Wolski added that Bakersfield, Las Vegas, Stockton and Ontario – all teams currently in the ECHL – could join the American Hockey League next year to form a true Western Conference. The AHL has been in discussions with western-based NHL teams about moving their affiliations to the west making it easier for player transactions to occur.

The ECHL currently has 22 teams while the CHL has nine teams schedule to play during the 2014-15 season. The AHL meanwhile has 30 clubs all currently affiliated with an NHL team.

  1. wineevv - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    The CHL has nine teams for 2014-2015, the ECHL has 22. That makes 31, not 40. The Las Vegas Wranglers are without an arena and are dark for the coming season. Colorado affiliated with Calgary yesterday.

  2. digbysellers - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    Woof, an AHL team in Stockton is a bad idea. That area is pretty crappy to say the least and it’s not like people there have tons of money to come to games anyway. AHL tix prices are a bit higher than prices in the E and while I don’t have their attendance figures in front of me, the couple times I was in that area from the East Coast there was hardly anybody in the building.

    • justanotherphillyfan - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      I don’t think thats a real problem they can relocate the Stockton team to a city that is more appealing for AHL hockey, isn’t that what they currently do anyways, I mean every two years some AHL team will move to some other city because of money.
      I’m more curious how they are willing to affiliate those new/extra teams with NHL teams?
      I mean all NHL teams already have an AHL affiliate, that would mean that some NHL teams will get more than one AHL affiliate ?

      Do NHL teams have enough players for that, mostly prospects send to play in the ECHL or CHL are going there because the AHL is a step too high for them.

      • t9tookey - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:02 PM

        They wouldn’t expand the AHL. They would move franchises from the East coast to the West.

      • desertfan - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:48 PM

        This is a brilliant and necessary plan.

        All NHL teams want and deserve close access to their respective AHL farms.

        The small # of Western AHL teams have travel and expenses that are unfair.

        20 Eastern and 10 Western AHL teams is going to happen for the betterment of hockey.

  3. djshnooks - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    It’s like the Sabres just affiliated themselves with the ECHL Elmira Jackets.

    So the AHL would remain at 30 teams, while the ECHL/CHL would form another league of 30/31 teams…most likely giving each team another affiliate in a lower league, like the Sabres just did with Elmira.

    So, players who aren’t ready for the NHL, too good for juniors/NCAA, or their eligibility has expired, but maybe need a year in between the NHL and AHL, would have a place to hone their skills, all the while being a short distance from the respective NHL/AHL clubs for a call-up.

    I probably did a poor job of getting my point across, but I think you might understand it.

  4. djshnooks - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    And the reason for this, or at least the reason the Sabres basically bought the ECHL Elmira Jackets, would be extra spots for prospects. Especially looking at a team like Buffalo, which has so many prospects in the pipe-line already, it’s a great idea.

    Somebody like Justin Kea for example, is done with juniors, not ready for the NHL, and may not be ready for the AHL yet…now they have a place to send him to improve.

    Brady Austin is another good example.

    • rickallenfan4ever91 - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:54 PM

      Its Elmira Jackals, not Jackets. Columbus are the Blue Jackets!!

  5. isphet71 - Aug 6, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    That large THUMP you heard coming from British Columbia was the collective heads of every EA Canada programmer working on NHL15 hitting their desks.

  6. troop3223cadettes - Aug 6, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    One of the WORST ideas in the long, sad history of bad ideas.

  7. dbara43 - Aug 6, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    Really pisses me off that the AHL to Seattle deal got killed last year because of the Coyotes fiasco. We would have been Vancouver’s top minor league affiliate playing in Key Arena. Meanwhile all we have is junior hockey while 4 different groups of big wigs try to put together an arena deal and an NHL franchise. Let’s just all move along and give us some professional hockey please.

    • barkinatbirdsinseattle - Aug 7, 2014 at 1:04 AM

      AGREED!!

  8. warweasel84747 - Aug 7, 2014 at 3:07 AM

    They named Vegas,Stockton,etc what about Utah’s team what is the echl going to do with them they are affiliated with the ducks we are all ready counted in this division. Guess the grizzlies will be left out of this deal if it happens.

  9. chaser44 - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    They should pull the best team from the ECHL, who just happens to have the best fan base for such a small league, the ALASKA ACES!!!

  10. justinpecora50 - Aug 7, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    Actually I like the ECHL. I live in Orlando and when the NHL was on strike I started going to Orlando Solar Bear games, now I go to between 8-10 games a year. If haven’t seen one go, very entertaining and lots of hard hit and a scrap or 2 or 3. I believe Ontario drew the most fans last year, although the East never saw any of those teams, would have been fun, but they obviously don’t have the resources. Maybe someone can find a way to get the ball rolling, because at these guys need to make more than $450 a week!!

  11. rickallenfan4ever91 - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    I dont like the idea of the two leagues merging :( I love the ECHL!! It would be sweet to see my Elmira Jackals going to the AHL!!

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