Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New York ECHL Affiliate Still Up In The Air

A week or so back I contacted the ECHL to ask if they knew what the future was with the Ranger affiliate in the AA league, seeing as they lost Charlotte (who became the Canes AHL affiliate). Today I got a response:
"At this time, we do not have any information regarding the NY Rangers' ECHL affiliate. The league office does not get involved in the negotiations between teams. If they are in talks with a certain team, the Rangers and that team will make an announcement when a deal is done and that will be the time we know about the affiliation as well."
Seeing as the league has already released their 2010-11 schedule, I think it is safe to say that the dream of a team up here in the metro area have been dashed - at least for the moment.

That isn't to say that they won't have a presence in the circuit; the Johnstown Chiefs moved to Greenville and have yet to reveal their nickname or affiliates. Last season they had a deal with Minnesota but eight teams in the E have multiple NHL affiliations so it wouldn't be a big leap for the Rangers to edge in on that. Increasing the likelihood of that situation, Greenville is about two hours away from Charlotte and is owned by former Ranger GM Neil Smith. But we will have to wait and see.

Dan Girardi, Corey Potter and Matt Zaba all played for Charlotte earlier in their careers (and just fyi, Jody Shelley skated for Johnstown before breaking in to the NHL). Last year the Checkers had former Ranger Jason Dawe as an assistant coach and finished first in their division before losing in the second round of the playoffs to the eventual champs, the Cincinnati Cyclones.

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