Cleat Geeks

What is the ECHL?

ECHLroadwarriorsYou know, that Hockey League down towards the bottom that many people don’t pay attention too or hear about.  The letters that stands for East Coast Hockey league, yet has teams in Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Texas and more; I mean it doesn’t get much more East Coast than that.  Yes I am a new writer here on Cleat Geeks and yes I have a sarcastic sense of humor.  You will learn that I have a huge passion for sports and have recently re-found my passion for Hockey through the ECHL.  Why?  Well that answer is still to be determined since it isn’t considered one of the major sports, but is merely a part of one, that being the NHL.

I moved to Greenville, SC in early 2013 leaving everything behind back in Indianapolis, IN all for a job.  Going from a huge city that thrives on major sporting events, to a city that has plenty of sports to watch, but the marketing just doesn’t seem to be there to get the fans in the stands it makes my struggle real in getting that passion going.  One evening while out enjoying downtown, I just happened to be in the same bar as a few of the hockey players for the local team.  I know we are all shocked by Hockey players drinking, but if it weren’t for them being in that bar, I would have never known the team here existed.  One of the players invited me to a game, and I was hooked from there and the passion was re-ignited.  I am now a season ticket holder and am proud to cheer on my local team.

See I have always been a hockey fan from the days of the Indianapolis Ice who were affiliated with the Detroit Red Wings at the time and I’ll never forget going to an Ice game where Chris Chelios was doing a rehab stent.  I took a break from Hockey after the Ice left and became a youth league and focused on Football.  Now that I am in Greenville it is back to Hockey and I am happy to follow along.  I love being able to support the team and help get more fans in the stands.  If we don’t get more fans in attendance, we may not have a team much longer in our area.  In looking, it seems most ECHL teams get a bailout from their affiliates to keep afloat to offset losses during the season.  Is it a case of Hockey in the south?  I’ll touch up on that question in another article.

BUFFALO, NY - FEBRUARY 20: Mackenzie Skapski #70 of the New York Rangers, playing in his first NHL game, flashes a smile during their game against the Buffalo Sabres on February 20, 2015 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. New York won, 3-1. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Following the ECHL is different for me.  I now follow the players more so than a team.  Yes I still have my local team to support, but this is a developmental league and I really enjoy watching the players move up and hate when they get moved back down.  However, we all know that is part of the process.  In just two season, I have seen so many players move from team to team amongst the ECHL and move up and down from ECHL to AHL. In fact, this year I watched a kid go from ECHL in pre-season to getting his first NHL win with the New York Rangers.  Yes I’m talking about Goalie Mackenzie Skapski.  I cannot wait to follow his career and the career of several others.  I will sign off with this: If you love the game, it will love you back!





    July 10, 2015 at 5:35 pm


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