The fallout of the AHL relocation is now effecting the ECHL, as the minor pro league will be moving three teams to the East Coast next season to fill holes left by the AHL. Manchester, Norfolk, and Adirondack are expected to be named ECHL cities later today.
It may not be the same league, but a trio of cities that were announced to be losing their AHL teams in 2015-16 will see the clubs replaced with ECHL hockey.
Manchester, N.H., Norfolk, Va., and Adirondack, which plays out of Glens Falls, N.Y., will each be recipients of relocated ECHL franchises for next season, each of which will replace a relocated AHL team.
The Virginian Pilot’s Jim Hodges reported this morning that the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors, which will be replaced with Edmonton’s AHL affiliate for the upcoming campaign, will be the team to move to Norfolk. Speculation is the Ontario Reign will move to Manchester and continue under the same Monarchs moniker that the AHL team uses.
It is not yet known which ECHL club will be moving to Adirondack. The Calgary Flames are moving their AHL team to Stockton next season, so the most sensible assumption is that the ECHL's Stockton Thunder will then move to Adirondack.
The announcement of three teams moving to the East Coast does, however, leave Worcester without a team. As part of the AHL's relocation, the Worcester Sharks are moving to San Jose. In addition, Oklahoma City, which is Edmonton’s current AHL affiliate, is not expected to retain a team.
The announcement of the relocating ECHL teams has yet to be made official, but it is expected to come on Friday afternoon. This also comes on the day that Las Vegas officially withdrew its team, the Wranglers, from the ECHL after suspending operations for the 2014-15 season.