Monday, June 3, 2013

Idaho Steelheads Expected as Affiliate After Allen ECHL Bid Fails

Francis Wathier
(Credit: Idaho Steelheads)
According to PHPA agent Darryl Wolski, there has been an official 'no' ruling on Allen and Rapid City's bids to join the ECHL. The agent reported on Twitter last night that the Americans and Rush were denied their opportunity to leave after the CHL pursued them in court and won. Neither will join the ECHL in 2013-14.

This means that the Idaho Steelheads will continue to be the Dallas and Texas Stars' ECHL affiliate.

The relationship with the Steelheads has been a strong one for the Texas Stars. Scott White began his career in the ECHL and has a huge belief in the role that it plays in the development of Dallas Stars. Idaho has been one of the most successful franchises out West, making the playoffs every year of their ECHL history and finishing below .500 just once (but still advancing to the second round of the playoffs that year). The Steelheads played a key role for the Stars this season as the lockout forced more players down to the Coast. As the Stars farm system continues to grow and shift, Idaho will continue to play an important role in player development.

As Scott White mentioned to me last week, there should be an announcement made officially on the ECHL relationship some time this week.

It is likely that the Allen Americans will continue to be the Stars' CHL affiliate, though their usage will likely be sparing. Not a single player was sent to the Americans this past season. It is, for now, mostly a symbolic affiliation, which serves to help marketing of the sport in the Dallas area. The court battle is the culmination of two years of rumours and speculation that Allen would move to the ECHL. The Central League is holding on by a thread and sued to block two of their most successful franchises from leaving, a case which they won. The Americans will be the first Central League champion to remain in the league to defend their title since 2010 when the Rapid City Rush defeated Allen in six games. Champions from 2011 and 2012, Bossier-Shreveport and Fort Wayne, both left the league. The Mudbugs folded, but the Komets continue on in the ECHL.

Wolski also reported that the CHL will lose the Fort Worth-based Brahmas. The Bloomington Blaze are also leaving and moving to the SPHL.

6 comments:

  1. What's up with the Brahmas and Blaze?

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  2. Several CHL teams are now run by the league (think Phoenix of the NHL) and others are just bankrupt. The CHL is a dying league that should sell to the ECHL while it is still worth something ... anything. It sucks for Allen, since there will now be no team anywhere near them to play -- travel costs will be outlandish for a (barely) AA-level league. Last season, Allen was getting players from the Houston Aeros .. but obviously that's over. The entire system should be NHL / AHL / ECHL / SPHL as a show-AAA-AA-A farm system, in my opinion.
    - PBG

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    1. The CHL probably had a chance to be a single A if they had wanted to. They are going to get squeezed out now instead. I'm really intrigued by the growth of the SPHL. It is succeeding, at least on the surface, where others have not (FHL).

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    2. How is one team allowed to leave the league to join the SPHL while Allen and Rapid aren't allowed to leave to join the ECHL? From a legal standpoint, isn't the league (or the court) talking out of both sides of its mouth?

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  3. Stephen, I agree with your assessment--the CHL is getting squeezed from both sides. From what I've read, there seem to be only 3 teams that are fully onboard and profitable: Denver, Wichita, and Missouri. It's too bad as only 3-4 years ago this was a solid league.

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  4. The CHL will be dead after this season, the league is no longer owned by Global Spectrum but by the individual owners themselves or to be more specific the 3 with the deepest pockets. Most of these teams are loosing hundreds of thousands of dollars just by operating and with the geography as it currently stands this business model won't last any longer then this season I guarantee.

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