Ontario Reign (ECHL)
|Home arena||Citizens Business Bank Arena|
Navy blue, orange, silver, white|
Los Angeles Kings|
|Division Championships||4 (2008–09, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2014–15)|
The Ontario Reign were a professional ice hockey team from Ontario, California that played in the ECHL. Their home arena was the Citizens Business Bank Arena. They were affiliated with two National Hockey League teams: the Los Angeles Kings were the team's primary affiliate, and the Winnipeg Jets were the secondary affiliate. In 2015, the franchise moved to Manchester, New Hampshire to become the Manchester Monarchs while the Monarchs of the American Hockey League moved to Ontario and became the Reign as part of the AHL's plan to create a Pacific Division.
Huntington Blizzard/Texas Wildcatters years and becoming the Reign
The Reign started as the Huntington Blizzard in 1993. After the 1999–2000 season, the team went dormant until 2003, when new owners bought the team and moved it to Beaumont, Texas as the Texas Wildcatters. The team played as the Wildcatters until they were unable to secure an arena lease in Beaumont in 2008. On February 26, 2008, the team announced its plan to relocate to Ontario for the 2008–09 season and became the Ontario Reign. The team's logo was unveiled on March 17, 2008.
During the 2008–09 regular season, the Reign went 38-29-4-2 and captured the 2008–09 Pacific Division championship. However, their success was short lived as they lost in round one of the playoffs to the Stockton Thunder. Head Coach Karl Taylor finished second in the John Brophy Award balloting for ECHL Coach of the Year, losing to Trenton Titans' head coach Rick Kowalsky. The Reign had a total attendance of 210,801 at 36 home games, an average of 5,856 per game, making it second-highest in the league. Kyle Kraemer lead the franchise in goals scored for the Reign.
During the 2009–10 regular season, the Reign went 31-31-3-7 and despite being a playoff contender until almost the last regular season game, they were unable to secure a playoff berth. The Reign had a total attendance of 232,223 at 36 home games, an average of 6,451 per game and over 10% higher than the previous season. This was more than enough to capture the league attendance record for the season.
In the 2010–11 regular season, the Reign went a dismal 27-39-2-4, including losing their first 15 home games. The season was marred by numerous injuries, illnesses, trades and a few players defecting to European hockey leagues. Despite their hopes for a late-season recovery, they were never a playoff contender and missed the playoffs for the second straight year. Despite their poor season on the ice, the attendance at 36 home games was an amazing 240,596, an average of 6,683 per game and over 3% higher than the previous season. For the second straight season, the Reign captured the league attendance record despite the poor on-ice performance.
Head coach Karl Taylor, who had been with the franchise since its inaugural year in Ontario, signed with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL as an assistant coach. He left Ontario with a 96-99-22 record. On August 23, 2011, the Reign announced that Jason Christie would succeed Taylor as head coach for the 2011–12 season. On August 24, 2011, the team announced that Christie would be joined behind the bench by former Los Angeles Kings defenseman and assistant coach Mark Hardy. The Reign finished the 2011–12 season with a franchise-best 43-21-5-3 record and clinched their second Pacific Division title.
The name was derived from an abstract noun related to royalty. Its name follows the pattern the Kings have established with the AHL affiliate the Manchester Monarchs. The name was chosen from a contest held by the team's website, where over 600 entries were submitted. Mike Brewster of Fontana, California submitted the winning entry.
- "Ontario Set To Reign The Inland Empire" (Press release). Ontario Reign. 2007-12-17. Archived from the original on 2014-01-16. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
- "Jets sign California team as ECHL affiliate". Winnipeg Free Press. 2013-05-30.
- "AHL to feature five California teams for 2015-16". National Hockey League. 2015-01-29.
- "ECHL Concludes Mid-Season Board of Governors Meeting" (Press release). ECHL. 2008-02-26. Archived from the original on 2008-05-05. Retrieved 2008-07-09.
- Trenton's Kowalsky Receives John Brophy Award Archived 2009-06-11 at WebCite
- Hoornstra, J.P. (10 August 2011). "Taylor leaves Reign for AHL job in Chicago". San Bernardino County Sun. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
- "Jason Christie Named Ontario Reign's New Head Coach". Press release. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- "Mark Hardy to Assist Behind Bench". Press release. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
- "Ontario Reigns as Pacific Division Champions with 6-1 Triumph". Press release. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
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