Flyers Reach ECHL Agreement with Reading Royals
The Philadelphia Flyers announced today a new ECHL affiliation.
The Flyers have reached a two-year agreement with the Reading Royals to become a part of the Flyers' system, joining the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League (AHL).
It is the first time since 1997-98 that the Flyers will have an all-Pennsylvania based farm system when the Philadelphia Phantoms and Johnstown Chiefs were in their system.
“We are pleased to announce an ECHL affiliation agreement with the Reading Royals,” Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said in the press release. "We’re excited to be entering a new era for the Flyers with respect to player development and look forward to working closely with them in a winning environment.
"The geographic proximity of our minor league affiliations in the Lehigh Valley and Reading will give our coaches and scouting department the best possible platform to monitor, and promote the growth and advancement of our young prospects.”
Ironically enough, the Philadelphia Phillies AAA club is in Lehigh while the AA club is in Reading, a unique parrallel with the city's baseball team.
The Royals enjoyed success the last two seasons as the affiliate of the Washington Capitals. In 2013, the Royals won the Kelly Cup, beating the Stockton Thunder in five games, and made the playoffs in 2014.
The Royals are headed into their 14th season in Reading. Prior to moving there, the franchise was based in Columbus, Ohio and played as the Columbus Chill from 1991-99 before making way for the incarnation of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
They have been in the post season nine times, including the last five years.
“I’m looking forward to working with the Flyers coaching and scouting staffs,” Royals’ Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Larry Courville said in the press release. “Our goal in Reading has not changed—to put a championship team on the ice.
"A big part of our success is linked to having an affiliate who is committed to stocking their minor professional system with young, talented players and getting these players as much game time as possible in the early phases of their career. Of course, I’m sure our fans will enjoy watching the Flyers’ prospects assigned to Reading as they pursue their goal of advancing to the highest level of the game, while helping us achieve our team goal of winning another ECHL championship.”