The ECHL announced on Tuesday the schedule of games from Dec. 11, 2020 to Jan. 14, 2021 for the 13 teams who are participating in a 72-game schedule for the 2020-21 season.
The ECHL has split their league into two groups, with 13 teams beginning on December 11 and the rest waiting until January 15. The training camps for the latter group will open on January 1.
The announcement could mean playing time for prospects that have been sitting idle since early March, however, it is not certain at this point who will be eligible to play. The timing of the ECHL season could provide many prospects a tune-up period prior to the start of the AHL and NHL seasons.
Michael Russo of The Athletic tweeted that the NHL was discussing a change that would make only players on entry-level contracts eligible to play in the low minors. For many organizations though, getting any of their young players into a game situation will be imperative for their development.
#mnwild affiliate Allen players report Thanksgiving Day. As I reported last week, Wild’s waiting for decision as to which of their prospects/minor-leaguers would be eligible. NHL was discussing adjusting rule that says only players on entry-level contracts can play in ECHL
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) November 10, 2020
FROM ECHL MEDIA RELEASE
Ten teams will be in action on Dec. 11 with Florida hosting Jacksonville, Indy entertaining Kansas City, Rapid City welcoming Utah, South Carolina taking on Greenville and Tulsa hosting Wichita.
Saturday, Dec. 12 sees two teams open their home schedule with Jacksonville hosting Greenville and Wheeling taking on Indy.
Four teams will take their home ice for the first time on Friday, Dec. 18 with Allen hosting Rapid City, Greenville welcoming Florida, Kansas City taking on Indy and Utah hosting Tulsa.
Wichita hosts its first home game on Saturday, Dec. 19 against Kansas City while Orlando will open its home season on Tuesday, Dec. 29 against Jacksonville.
The third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, the ECHL averaged 4,327 fans per game in 2019-20, marking the 16th consecutive season and the 28th time in the last 30 years that the ECHL has averaged over 4,000 fans.
The ECHL regular season will conclude on June 6, 2021. A schedule for games from January 15-June 6, 2021 will be announced at a later date.
Under the split-season scenario, League standings will be based on winning percentage during the regular season. The post-season format will be based on the eligible competing teams in the regular season and will be announced at a later date.
About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 26 teams in 19 states and two Canadian provinces for its 33rd season in 2020-21. There have been 678 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 16 who made their NHL debuts in the 2019-20 season. The ECHL had affiliations with 25 of the 31 NHL teams in 2019-20, marking the 23rd consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook.
SOUTH CAROLINA STINGRAYS