2009–10 ECHL season

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2009–10 ECHL season
League ECHL
Sport Ice hockey
Duration October 15, 2009 – April 3, 2010
Regular season
Brabham Cup Idaho Steelheads
Season MVP Tyler Donati (Elmira Jackals)
Top scorer Tyler Donati (Elmira Jackals)
Playoffs
American champions Cincinnati Cyclones
  American runners-up Reading Royals
National champions Idaho Steelheads
  National runners-up Stockton Thunder
Playoffs MVP Robert Mayer and Jeremy Smith
Kelly Cup
Champions Cincinnati Cyclones
  Runners-up Idaho Steelheads
ECHL seasons

The 2009–10 ECHL season was the 22nd season of the ECHL. It ran from October, 2009 until April, 2010, followed by the Kelly Cup playoffs which lasted until May 21, 2010 as the Cincinnati Cyclones won their second Kelly Cup championship in three years by defeating the Idaho Steelheads in five games. The league welcomed two franchises to the league for the 2009–10 season with the return of the Toledo Storm as the Toledo Walleye, who will play in the Lucas County Arena in Toledo, Ohio, after a two-year suspension of the franchise to allow for the construction of their new arena, and the admission of the Kalamazoo Wings as an expansion franchise who will play in Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The ECHL held its annual All-Star Game and Skills Challenge on January 19–20 at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California, home of the Ontario Reign.

League Business[edit]

Team changes[edit]

Departures[edit]

Following the league's Mid-Season Board of Governors Meeting on March 27, 2009, the league announced that two teams had been granted one-year extensions to voluntary suspensions because of arena issues, two teams would suspend operations for the season and that one team would cease operations following the conclusion of the 2008–09 ECHL season.[1]

The current economic crisis has forced the ECHL to allow one-year extensions on voluntary suspensions for two teams in South Carolina, one in Columbia and one in Myrtle Beach. Both franchises await approvals for their new arenas in Irmo and Conway, respectively, as neither arena has begun construction.[2]

The Dayton Bombers and the Mississippi Sea Wolves announced that they would be suspending operations for the 2009–10 season and must present new business plans to the league in June 2009. Dayton owner Costa Papista cited declining support as the reason for the team being forced to suspend operations. Dayton averaged 3,679 fans per home game in 2008–09 (up slightly from 3,663 in 2007–08), but the Bombers would consistently fall short of the league's average attendance each year (4,218 in 2008–09).[3] Papista stated that it is hard to sell hockey at the Bombers primary arena, the Nutter Center on the campus of Wright State University in Fairborn as the seating capacity is upwards of 9,500 and has proposed building a $30 million, 5,500-seat arena in downtown Dayton that would house professional hockey in Dayton. The proposal is being explored by the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan.[4] The suspension ends Dayton's run of 18 seasons in the ECHL, the second longest to league founder Johnstown Chiefs' 21-year run. With a team in Cincinnati and the return of a team to Toledo, ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna has said that he would like to see Dayton return to the league, stating "We very much would like to back in Dayton and, hopefully, some day we will be."[3] However, Two Fort Wayne, Indiana-based businessmen gained approval from the International Hockey League to revive the Dayton Gems franchise.[5] With the new IHL franchise in place and a failed drive for season tickets and managing partnership to resume play for the 2010-11 season, the Bombers owners relinquished their team's membership in the ECHL at the Annual Board of Governors' Meeting in Las Vegas in June 2009.[6]

Mississippi owner Mike Rogers and team president Bill Yates also announced that their team would suspend operations due to economic troubles that included travel expenses and low ticket sales. Mississippi became the latest team on the Interstate 10 corridor to cease operations which over the years has included the Baton Rouge Kingfish, Louisiana IceGators, Mobile Mysticks and Pensacola Ice Pilots. Team president Bill Yates stated that the team still intends to continue operations in the ECHL, including possibly playing in 2010–11, but may move the team to a new city or a different league, most notably the Central Hockey League[7] It was announced in May 2009 that Biloxi[8] and Pensacola are expected to receive Southern Professional Hockey League franchises for the 2009–10 seasons. The SPHL announced also Lafayette, Louisiana will also move to the SPHL[9] With the new SPHL franchise in place, the Sea Wolves former owners relinquished their team's membership in the ECHL at the Annual Board of Governors' Meeting.[6]

The Phoenix RoadRunners told the Board of Governors that the team would not participate in the 2009–10 season and would cease operations effective immediately following the 2008–09 season.[1] At the Annual Board of Governors' Meeting, Phoenix officially relinquished their membership in the ECHL.[6]

After sitting out from the league for four seasons on voluntary suspension, the potential Myrtle Beach, South Carolina franchise (formerly the Pee Dee/Florence Pride) relinquished their franchise's membership in the league at the Annual Board of Governors' Meeting.[6]

Additions[edit]

Following their two year voluntary suspension due to construction of a new arena, the Toledo Walleye (formerly Toledo Storm) will return to the ECHL and compete at the Lucas County Arena in downtown Toledo. The Walleye will bring back former Storm boss Nick Vitucci as the team's inaugural head coach and while Joe Napoli will serve as the team's general manager. Napoli also serves as the general manager and vice president of the Toledo Mud Hens minor league baseball club, which owns the Walleye, their co-anchor tenant Toledo Bullfrogs arena football team and Lucas County Arena under the Mud Hens subsidiary, Toledo Arena Sports, Inc.

On June 9, 2009, the ECHL welcomed the Kalamazoo Wings as an expansion member for the 2009–10 season.[10] The Wings will join the American Conference's North Division where it will renew old rivalries from the original IHL with Toledo and Cincinnati. The Wings became the second team in three years to jump from the new International Hockey League to the ECHL, following the Elmira Jackals who transferred from the IHL to the ECHL in time for the 2007–08 season.[11] Kalamazoo's move to the ECHL was expected after the club announced they were leaving the IHL on June 3, 2009.[12]

League realignment[edit]

With Phoenix ceasing operations, Dayton and Mississippi suspending operations for the season and Toledo being added, the ECHL found itself with 19 teams and in need for a realigniment of its teams. Following the Mid-Season Board of Governors Meeting, the ECHL announced a new divisional alignment of 11 teams in the American Conference and 8 teams in the National Conference. In the American Conference, the expansion Toledo Walleye would move into the North Division, while the Reading Royals and Trenton Devils were forced to move from the North Division to the South Division. The Pacific and West Divisions of the National Conference will remain the same with the exception of the Phoenix Roadrunners and the Fresno Falcons who folded mid-way through the 2008-09 season.[1]

On June 9, 2009, the ECHL announced that the newly admitted Kalamazoo Wings would compete in the American Conference's North Division bring the total number of teams in the North Division to six and the total number of teams in the American Conference to twelve.[11]

Following the Annual Board of Governors' Meeting in June, the ECHL announced that it would establish a third division in the American Conference consisting of the Elmira, Johnstown, Reading and Trenton franchises. The move slightly balances the league as all five divisions have four members.[6]

American Conference[edit]

National Conference[edit]

2010 Kelly Cup Playoffs format[edit]

At the Annual Board of Governors' Meeting unanimously approved a new format for the Kelly Cup Playoffs in 2010 as follows:

The conference quarterfinals will be a best-of-five game series with the remaining rounds being best-of-seven game series. The best-of-five series will be a 2-3 format with the higher seed choosing if it wishes to host Games 1-2 or Games 3-5. Teams that are less than 350 miles apart may choose to play a 2-2-1 format.

In the National Conference, postseason berths will be awarded to the first-place team in each division and the next five teams in the conference, based on points. The division winner with the best record in the conference will receive a bye in the first round, the other division winner will play the 7th seed, and so on. The semifinals will put the Conference champion against the winner of the 4-5 seed games, and the other two series winners aainst each other.

In the American Conference, postseason berths will be awarded to the first-place team in each division and the next five teams in the conference, based on points, with the division winners being the top three seeds. The winners of the 1-8 matchup will play the winner of the 4-5 matchup in the first Conference semifinal series, and the other two winners will meet in the other semifinal.[6]

Player roster revision[edit]

As well as the newly approved playoff format, the league also stated that the Injured Reserve would be abolished during the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Instead, the teams will have a maximum roster of 23 players for the postseason with 20 active players and up to three inactive players.[6]

Other league business[edit]

During the Annual Board of Governors' Meeting in June, the league announced a few decisions set to try to stabilize the league. The first of which was the Board of Governors' unanimously re-electing Steve Chapman of the Gwinnett Gladiators as the Chairman of the Board of Governors for a fourth straight term. Chapman had been awarded the ECHL Executive of the Year Award in 2005 and 2006, the only person in league history to win the award multiple times.[6]

With the four team difference between the American and National Conferences, the league revised its expansion policy. After having a membership as high as 40 during the ECHL-WCHL merger, the league capped the number of teams the league would allow to 24, with a priority of putting teams in the South and West. The league currently has 20 active members and two inactive members in Columbia, SC and Reno, NV.[6]

The league received updates from the inactive Columbia Inferno and Reno, Nevada franchises who were granted a one-year extension to their voluntary suspensions. Columbia advised the Board that construction is scheduled to begin later in the Summer on the Lexington County Events Center and that the Inferno plan to return to the ice for the 2010-11 season. The team also announced that it retained the nucleus of its staff and plans to increase its preparation for 2010-11 in October. The Board unanimously approved a request from Reno for a one-year extension to its Home Arena Pending as the ownership group continues its work toward an arena project. The Reno franchise has been on voluntary suspension since the team was granted expansion rights in 2004.[6]

Finally, the league announced the creation of the Playing Schedule Committee. The committee was created to examine the overall scheduling process. The committee will report to the Board at the Preseason Meeting in September regarding the timing and release of the schedule in coming seasons as well as the criteria to be used in creating the schedule.[6]

Regular season[edit]

Updated through April 1, 2010

Conference standings[edit]

American Conference GP W L OTL SOL GF GA PTS
z-Charlotte Checkers* 72 43 21 4 4 253 223 94
y-Kalamazoo Wings* 72 42 20 6 4 273 243 94
y-Elmira Jackals* 72 37 26 6 3 275 231 83
x-South Carolina Stingrays 72 41 19 6 6 248 216 94
x-Cincinnati Cyclones 72 44 25 1 2 235 200 91
x-Florida Everblades 72 38 25 4 5 234 221 85
x-Reading Royals 72 37 29 1 5 254 275 80
x-Toledo Walleye 72 35 30 2 5 254 274 77
e-Trenton Devils 72 33 30 4 5 244 252 75
e-Wheeling Nailers 72 33 32 2 5 240 249 73
e-Gwinnett Gladiators 72 31 33 5 3 243 277 70
e-Johnstown Chiefs 72 18 43 7 4 215 307 47

x - clinched playoff spot, y - clinched division title, z - clinched best conference record, e - eliminated from playoff contention

* – division leader

National Conference GP W L OTL SOL GF GA PTS
b-Idaho Steelheads * 72 48 17 2 5 260 191 103
y-Bakersfield Condors * 72 38 29 4 1 232 243 81
x-Alaska Aces 72 36 28 4 4 232 240 80
x-Utah Grizzlies 72 34 29 4 5 260 253 77
x-Las Vegas Wranglers 72 34 30 4 4 234 257 76
x-Stockton Thunder 72 33 29 2 7 235 241 76
x-Victoria Salmon Kings 72 34 32 4 2 230 243 74
e-Ontario Reign 72 31 31 3 7 214 229 72

x - clinched playoff spot, y - clinched division title, b - clinched Brabham Cup, best record in the conference and first round bye, e - eliminated from playoff contention

* – division leader

Divisional standings[edit]

American Conference
East Division GP W L OTL SOL GF GA PTS
y-Elmira Jackals (OTT) 72 37 26 6 3 275 231 83
x-Reading Royals (TOR) 72 37 29 1 5 254 275 80
e-Trenton Devils (NJD) 72 33 30 4 5 244 252 75
e-Johnstown Chiefs (MIN) 72 18 43 7 4 215 307 47
North Division GP W L OTL SOL GF GA PTS
y-Kalamazoo Wings (PHI/SJ) 72 42 20 6 4 273 243 94
x-Cincinnati Cyclones (MON/NSH) 72 44 25 1 2 235 200 91
x-Toledo Walleye (DET/CHI) 72 35 30 2 5 254 274 77
e-Wheeling Nailers (PIT) 72 33 32 2 5 240 249 73
South Division GP W L OTL SOL GF GA PTS
z-Charlotte Checkers (COL/NYR) 72 43 21 4 4 253 223 94
x-South Carolina Stingrays (WSH) 72 41 19 6 6 248 216 94
x-Florida Everblades (CAR/FLA) 72 38 25 4 5 234 221 85
e-Gwinnett Gladiators (ATL/CBJ) 72 31 33 5 3 243 277 70

Note: GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OTL = Overtime loss; SOL = Shootout loss; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points

National Conference
Pacific Division GP W L OTL SOL GF GA PTS
y-Bakersfield Condors (ANA) 72 38 29 4 1 232 243 81
x-Las Vegas Wranglers (PHX) 72 34 30 4 4 234 257 76
x-Stockton Thunder (EDM) 72 33 29 2 7 235 241 76
e-Ontario Reign (LA) 72 31 31 3 7 214 229 72
West Division GP W L OTL SOL GF GA PTS
b-Idaho Steelheads (DAL) 72 48 17 2 5 260 191 103
x-Alaska Aces (STL) 72 36 28 4 4 232 240 80
x-Utah Grizzlies (NYI) 72 34 29 4 5 260 253 77
x-Victoria Salmon Kings (VAN) 72 34 32 4 2 230 243 74

Note: GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OTL = Overtime loss; SOL = Shootout loss; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points

2009-10 Kelly Cup Playoffs[edit]

Bracket[edit]

  Conference Quarterfinals Conference Semifinals Conference Finals Kelly Cup Finals
                                     
  1  Idaho 4  
 
  4  Utah 0  
4  Utah 3  
5  Las Vegas 2  
  1  Idaho 4  
National Conference
  6  Stockton 2  
2  Bakersfield 3  
7  Victoria 2  
  2  Bakersfield 1
 
  6  Stockton 4  
3  Alaska 1
6  Stockton 3  
  1  Idaho 1
  5  Cincinnati 4
1  Charlotte 3  
8  Toledo 1  
  1  Charlotte 3
 
  5  Cincinnati 4  
4  South Carolina 2
5  Cincinnati 3  
  5  Cincinnati 4
American Conference
  7  Reading 3  
2  Kalamazoo 2  
7  Reading 3  
  7  Reading 4
 
  6  Florida 0  
3  Elmira 2
6  Florida 3  

Statistical leaders[edit]

Leading skaters[edit]

These are the top ten skaters based on points.[13]

GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; PTS = Points; +/– = Plus/minus; PIM = Penalty minutes; † = Player no longer with listed team

Player Team GP G A PTS +/– PIM
Tyler Donati Elmira Jackals 67 38 76 114 +21 52
Justin Donati Elmira Jackals 65 42 62 104 +13 48
Ryan Kinasewich Utah Grizzlies 59 48 55 103 -11 70
Mark Derlago Idaho Steelheads 60 42 50 82 +34 36
Adam Miller Las Vegas Wranglers 72 33 53 86 +3 102
AJ Perry Utah Grizzlies 67 30 48 78 -10 62
Evan Barlow Idaho Steelheads 58 32 43 75 +30 65
James Bates Stockton Thunder 60 27 46 73 +18 24
Andrew Fournier Kalamazoo Wings 70 27 44 71 +11 40
Ryan Cruthers Reading Royals 60 22 49 71 +5 71

Statistics current as of: April 5, 2010

Leading goaltenders[edit]

These are the top five goaltenders based on both goals against average and save percentage with at least one game played (Note: List is sorted by goals against average).[14]

GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; SA = Shots against; GA = Goals against; GAA = Goals against average; SV% = Save percentage; SO = Shutouts; TOI = Time on ice (in minutes)

Player Team GP W L SA GA GAA SV% SO TOI
Richard Bachman Idaho Steelheads 35 22 11 852 77 2.28 .910 4 2028
Jeremy Smith Cincinnati Cyclones 42 23 17 1074 108 2.28 .899 2 2468
Rejean Beauchemin Idaho Steelheads 39 25 13 930 100 2.63 .892 2 2279
Ryan Munce Charlotte Checkers 44 26 17 1139 116 2.77 .913 1 2511
Todd Ford South Carolina Stingrays 28 18 9 859 77 2.79 .910 1 1658

Statistics current as of: April 5, 2010

ECHL awards[edit]

See also: ECHL awards
Patrick Kelly Cup: Cincinnati Cyclones
Henry Brabham Cup: Idaho Steelheads
Gingher Memorial Trophy: Cincinnati Cyclones
Bruce Taylor Trophy: Idaho Steelheads
John Brophy Award: Derek Laxdal (Idaho Steelheads)
CCM U+ Most Valuable Player: Tyler Donati (Elmira Jackals)
Kelly Cup Playoffs Most Valuable Player: Robert Mayer and Jeremy Smith (Cincinnati Cyclones)
Reebok Hockey Goaltender of the Year: Todd Ford (South Carolina Stingrays)
CCM Rookie of the Year: Justin Donati (Elmira Jackals)
Defenseman of the Year: J.C. Sawyer (Toledo Walleye)
Leading Scorer: Tyler Donati (Elmira Jackals)
Reebok Plus Performer Award: Mark Derlago (Idaho Steelheads)
Sportsmanship Award: Barret Ehgoetz (Cincinnati Cyclones)
Birmingham Memorial Award:

All-ECHL Teams[edit]

ECHL All-Rookie Team[edit]

The selections of two players from the Gwinnett Gladiators and Idaho Steelheads marked the eighth and ninth times that multiple players from the same team had been voted to the All-Rookie Team and the first time since the 2001-02 season.[15]

ECHL-All Rookie Team

Canada F Evan Barlow (Idaho)
Canada F Justin Donati (Elmira)
Canada F Maxime Tanguay (Toledo)
Canada D Drew Paris (Gwinnett)
Canada D Sam Roberts (Gwinnett)
United States G Richard Bachman (Idaho)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Press Release (March 30, 2009). "ECHL Concludes Mid-Season Board of Governors Meeting". ECHL. Retrieved April 1, 2009. [dead link]
  2. ^ Staff (February 6, 2009). "Inferno take 2nd year off". The State. Retrieved April 1, 2009. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b Juniewicz, Debbie (March 30, 2009). "Bombers won't play next season, cite declining support". Dayton Daily News. Archived from the original on 1 April 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2009. 
  4. ^ Hulsey, Lynn (April 1, 2009). "Bombers can't meet gate guarantee". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved April 1, 2009. 
  5. ^ Juniewicz, Debbie (May 30, 2009). "Dayton Gems back on the ice?". Dayton Daily News. Archived from the original on 7 June 2009. Retrieved June 2, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Press Release (June 29, 2009). "Annual ECHL Board of Governors Meeting Concludes". ECHL. Retrieved June 29, 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ Mashek, Jim (March 30, 2009). "Sea Wolves suspend '09–'10 operations". The Sun Herald. Retrieved April 1, 2009. [dead link]
  8. ^ Press Release (April 30, 2009). "Biloxi to join SPHL". Southern Professional Hockey League. Retrieved May 7, 2009. [dead link]
  9. ^ Blakeney, Jason (April 30, 2009). "Hockey's Back!". Pensacola News Journal. Archived from the original on 3 May 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2009. 
  10. ^ Shebest, Pam (June 9, 2009). "K-Wings join ECHL". Kalamazoo Gazette. Retrieved June 10, 2009. 
  11. ^ a b Press Release (June 9, 2009). "Membership Approved For Kalamazoo". ECHL. Retrieved June 10, 2009. [dead link]
  12. ^ Couch, Graham (June 3, 2009). "K-Wings' split with IHL may come with strings". Kalamazoo Gazette. Archived from the original on 7 June 2009. Retrieved June 10, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Top Scorers - 2009-10 Regular Season - All Players". ECHL. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  14. ^ "Top Goalies - 2009-10 Regular Season - Goals Against Average". ECHL. Archived from the original on 24 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  15. ^ Press release (March 31, 2010). "ECHL All-Rookie Team Announced". ECHL. Retrieved April 3, 2010. [dead link]