After 20 years of the American Hockey League brand in St. John’s (14 years as the Maple Leafs, from 1991-92 until 2004-05; six years as the IceCaps, from 2011-12 until 2016-17), the city is set to transition tonight with the debut of the ECHL.
The Newfoundland Growlers make the debut 7 o’clock tonight at Mile One Centre against the visiting Florida Everblades. The teams meet again 7 p.m. Saturday, Next Tuesday and Wednesday, the Adirondack Thunder are in for a two-game set before the Growlers hit the road for eight games.
The ECHL — formerly East Coast Hockey League — touts itself as North America's premier AA hockey league. It is best described as AA to the AAA American Hockey League.
However, an increasing number of AHL cities are now switching to the ECHL. With the Growlers joining the fold, St. John's becomes the ninth former AHL city to join the ECHL, with Adirondack, N.Y.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Indianapolis, Ind.; Portland, Maine; Manchester, N.H.; Norfolk, Va.; Salt Lake City, Utah and Worcester, Mass.
The following are some commonly asked questions regarding the ECHL, and their answers, compliments of www.echl.com
What do the letters ECHL stand for?
In a change reflective of the nationwide presence of the ECHL, the East Coast Hockey League changed its name to simply ECHL on May 19, 2003. The leading professional developmental league for the American Hockey and the National Hockey League, ECHL has an identity that is well known within North American hockey circles.
Did the East Coast Hockey League merge with the West Coast Hockey League and the Central Hockey League?
The East Coast Hockey League and West Coast Hockey League did not merge. The WCHL ceased operations after completing its season in 2002-03. The teams from the defunct WCHL, along with Las Vegas, joined as expansion teams for the ECHL’s 16th season in 2003-04. Similarly, prior to the 2014-15 season, seven teams from the defunct Central Hockey League joined the ECHL as expansion teams.
What is the salary cap in the ECHL?
The weekly salary cap for 2018-19 is $13,470 per week for the first 30 days of the season and $13,000 per week for the balance of the season. The weekly salary floor is $9,850.
What is the minimum salary for an ECHL player?
Teams are required in 2018-19 to pay rookie players a minimum salary of $470 per week and returning players a minimum salary of $510 per week. A returning player is classified as a player who appeared on a team’s season-ending or playoff roster or who has played in 25 or more professional hockey games.
What is the NHL/AHL affiliate payment?
The NHL/AHL affiliate payment for 2018-19 is $525 per week. Any affiliate amount other than $525 per week agreed upon with any NHL/AHL club will be considered a salary cap violation. This includes excess payments for equipment, travel, etc.
Does the ECHL play overtime?
During all preseason and regular season ECHL games, if at the end of the three 20-minute periods and the score is tied, each team shall be awarded a point in the ECHL standings.
The teams will then play an additional overtime of not more than five minutes with the team scoring first declared the winner and being awarded an additional point. The overtime period shall be played with each team at a numerical strength of three skaters and one goaltender.
If at the end of the five-minute overtime, and the score remains tied, a shootout will occur. The shootout will be commenced immediately following a one-minute rest period during which the players will remain on the ice. The teams will not change ends for the shootout.
How many players can dress for each game?
Teams may dress a maximum of 18 players for each regular season and playoff game, of which two must be goaltenders. No team can play with only one designated goaltender on the lineup card.
How many veteran players are allowed in the ECHL?
Each ECHL team shall be limited to four veteran players (excluding goaltenders) on its Active Roster and Reserve during the Season (regular season and playoffs).
What constitutes a veteran player in the ECHL?
A veteran shall mean a player, other than a goaltender, who has played in at least 260 regular season games of professional hockey. Provided however, any player signed to a NHL or AHL contract which contains an ECHL assignment provision shall be exempt from the foregoing rule. Notwithstanding the above, any player assigned to an ECHL member team on a NHL or AHL contract shall be deemed to be a veteran if said player is 24 years or older and has participated in 260 regular season professional hockey games as of the opening day of the season of said year.
What games count towards determining a player’s veteran status?
Games played for the Olympic or national team of any country do not count as professional games and will not be applicable toward the 260 professional games needed to be classified as a veteran. The ECHL will use the International Section of current and previous National Hockey League Year In Review books to determine professional games played outside North America. If a player’s statistics are included in this section, those games will be considered to be professional games played and applicable toward his veteran status. Games played in all professional North American leagues at the “AA” level or higher, past and present, will count toward a player’s veteran status.
European leagues that count towards veteran status in the ECHL are the top leagues in the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland.
What is the ECHL roster limit?
ECHL teams can carry a maximum of 20 players (21 for the first 30 days of the regular season) on their active roster (not counting players on reserve or injured reserve).
When is the jersey reversal date?
ECHL teams will wear their dark jerseys at home from Oct. 12, 2018 to Jan. 21, 2019 and their white jerseys at home from Jan. 25 through the remainder of the regular season. Home teams will wear dark jerseys during the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs.