Dear ECHL Fans,
Welcome to the 2022-23 Season as we mark the 35th year of ECHL Hockey. This year we look to continue to build on our storied history and heritage that has made the ECHL the development league to the National Hockey League and American Hockey League, with over 720 players having graduated to the NHL, and bringing affordable entertainment to millions of fans in our markets.
The ECHL is pleased to welcome our 28th member team and bring our League to Savannah, Georgia this season, as the Savannah Ghost Pirates begin play as an expansion membership. The Ghost Pirates enter the ECHL in a brand new, state-of-the-art facility and add a new regional rival for our South Division teams.
We continue to pride ourselves on offering affordable entertainment to the communities we serve, welcoming sport fans, families, businesses, and groups of all sizes to enjoy an outing together and take in the exciting ECHL action and atmosphere for a combined first-class experience.
The ECHL would also like to congratulate the Florida Everblades who captured the 2022 Kelly Cup title in five games over the Toledo Walleye. Notably, four of the five games in the Finals attracted standing-room only crowds and the energy was unmatched in these venues.
Our Teams continue to make an impact off the ice in their local communities as well, donating over $40 million in the last 11 years to their markets. This is on top of the countless hours our Players and front office staff dedicate to local schools, hospitals, and charities to become an integral part of the community. In addition, the ECHL will once again partner with the National Hockey League in support of their Hockey Fights Cancer and Hockey is For Everyone initiatives to bring our communities together for a great cause.
The past 34 years have also allowed the ECHL to unquestionably become an integral part of the professional hockey player development process, as 727 players have gone on to play in the NHL after their time in the ECHL, including 29 who made their NHL debut in 2021-22. Furthermore, countless officials, coaches and front office staff have moved on to the AHL and NHL as they have used the ECHL to develop their career, and notably form this past season, 2020 ECHL Hall of Fame inductee Jared Bednar, became the first ever coach to win the ECHL’s Kelly Cup, AHL’s Calder Cup, and the NHL’s Stanley Cup.
The ECHL has been represented on the last 22 Stanley Cup Champions including in 2022 with the Colorado Avalanche with the aforementioned head coach Jared Bednar, as well as assistant coach Nolan Pratt, goaltender Darcy Kuemper, head equipment manager J.C. Ihrig and assistant equipment manager Donny White.
Additionally, approximately one-third of the current on-ice officials in the NHL spent time honing their skills in the ECHL, and for each of the last 24 seasons, the ECHL has had affiliations with at least 20 NHL teams.
Thank you on behalf of the ECHL and all of our Teams for your continued support and we hope that you and those you attend with enjoy following your favorite ECHL club and making lasting memories around the ECHL experience.
Ryan CrelinECHL Commissioner