Even before the Victoria Salmon Kings played what is assumed to be their final ECHL game, the rumor mill churned out a potential replacement.
According to a report in the Quad-City Times, the Central Hockey League’s Loveland-based Colorado Eagles could join the ECHL as early as next season. The report notes that the league is working on a 19- or 20-team schedule for next season. The Chicago Express will join the ECHL and bring the league to 20 teams, but losing the Salmon Kings will bring the number to 19.
Which is number 20?
From the Times:
And while ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna on Thursday said the
league is close to finalizing a 19- or 20-team schedule that will
bring aboard an expansion team in Chicago and may or may not
include a team returning to or replacing to Victoria, B.C., he
twice stopped short of categorically refuting the potential
addition of either Colorado or Fort Wayne.
“We are not party to anything that might be going on in other
leagues right now and we want to keep the ECHL clear of any of that
sort of speculation at all,” he said.
Asked if that meant the league would not be absorbing the
Colorado Eagles in 2011-2012, he said: “I’m not making comments
about any teams in any leagues other than the ECHL at all.”
Dennis Hextall, who remains under contract as commissioner of
the five International Hockey League franchises that entered into a
two-year partnership with the CHL a year ago, said he has heard
Colorado already might be included on a tentative ECHL schedule for
“I heard that, but I can’t verify it,” he said.
We’ll try to follow up via a couple avenues today.