Board of Governors meeting reveals ECHL playoff format. Update.

The ECHL board of governors restructured the Kelly Cup playoff format at their annual summer meeting, awarding seven berths to the eight-team National Conference. Under the old format, which awarded playoff berths to the top four teams in the Pacific and West divisions, every team in the conference (including the Reign) would have advanced. The Phoenix Roadrunners ceased operations at the end of last season.
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What about CBBA?

A publication called MLN Sports has conducted an online poll to determine the best arena in minor-league American sports. Seven of the top 10 were ECHL venues, including Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena (fourth) and Stockton Arena (second).

Citizens Business Bank Arena didn’t crack the top 10. Why not? The guess here is that local fans haven’t heard of MLN, or don’t think it’s worth a $12/year subscription, and thus didn’t vote. It’s an established publication and CBBA isn’t an established arena. So maybe give it some time and, in the meantime, enjoy The Bank in relative secrecy.

Kellen Briggs to Germany.

Took me ten days to translate this page from German, but it appears that former Reign goalie Kellen Briggs has signed with a German team for 2009-10.

Briggs didn’t return to the Reign after being recalled by the AHL’s Portland Pirates in February. His new team, the Dresdner Eislöwen (Ice Lions) finished 11th last season in the 13-team 2nd Bundesliga, which is a notch below the Deutsch Elite League. It’s basically the German AHL.

Any other questions about that article, I’ll get back to you. Eventually.

ECHL: $3.4 million donated to charities.

The ECHL announced today that teams donated more than $3.4 million to charitable and non-profit organizations during the 2008-09 season, including over $1.7 in monetary contributions. The Reign contributed more than $323,740 to that figure.

The financial contributions are in addition to the thousands of appearances by players, coaches, team personnel and mascots at schools, hospitals, libraries and charity functions throughout the year.

The total includes over $450,000 for cancer awareness and prevention, raising the total raised through “Pink” events the last three seasons to more than $1.2 million. The Reign held their “Pink at the Rink” night on February 7.

Stockton Thunder extend Thomas’ contract.

The first, last and only coach ever to defeat the Reign in the playoffs was rewarded today, as the Stockton Thunder have given Matt Thomas a 2-year contract extension.

“We’re thrilled to have Matt Thomas back as the head coach of the Thunder and lead our organization for at least the next two seasons,” Thunder president Dan Chapman said in the release. “In talking with others around the ECHL and professional hockey, Matt is very highly regarded and considered by many as one of the best coaches in the league.”

2009-10 Reign schedule is out.

The Ontario Reign’s 2009-10 is out. Just like last season, it starts on the road in Bakersfield, with a two-game set against the Condors on Oct. 16 and 17. It will end with three straight games in Las Vegas against the Wranglers, April 1-3.

Here’s everything in between (my apologies for the poor transfer quality of a Excel file):
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ECHL approves expansion team.


The ECHL announced on Tuesday that the Board of Governors has unanimously approved the Expansion Membership application of the Kalamazoo Wings for admission to the ECHL.

Kalamazoo will be a member of the North Division in the American Conference joining the Cincinnati Cyclones, the Elmira (N.Y.) Jackals, the Johnstown (Pa.) Chiefs, the Toledo (Ohio) Walleye and the Wheeling Nailers.

The ECHL is finalizing the schedule for 2009-10 and will release it as soon as possible.