WICHITA, Kan. – Greetings and welcome back to another edition of ECHL News and Notes. It has certainly been a busy and entertaining period for the NHL, and to a lesser extent, the AHL, as organizations work to build organizational rosters for the coming season.
While not as entertaining, the same level of busywork can be said in the ECHL, with qualifying offers going out, and the trickle of signings now starting to become a stream. There’s other news we’re following, too, so let’s get after it.
Coaching Carousel Update
The help wanted sign is out for two Eastern Conference teams that are looking for new head coaches. The news, first reported by ESPN’s Kevin Weekes was reported on Tuesday. Earlier this afternoon, it was announced that Jacksonville Icemen head coach, and surefire ECHL Hall of Famer, Jason Christie, will join Don Granato‘s staff in Buffalo.
Hearing there’s a good chance HC Jason Christie of @JaxIcemen , who has deep ties with Donny Granato going back to their time in Peoria, is likely joining Granato’s staff as an Asst Coach with the @BuffaloSabres .@espn @NHL @NHLNetwork #TSNHockey #HockeyTwitter
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) July 28, 2021
The move reunites Christie & Granato, who won a Kelly Cup championship together in Peoria in 2000. Christie would make the rare jump from the ECHL to NHL, but leaves the league as the winningest coach in league history, with a 667-479-134 record. Additionally, he has made 11 postseason appearances as an ECHL head coach earning a total of 45 postseason victories.
The other coaching domino that looks likely to fall is in Downeast Maine, with Colby Armstrong moving to the Flyers organization, becoming an assistant coach with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
BREAKING SPORTS-A source has confirmed to CBS 13 that @MarinersOfMaine Coach Riley Armstrong will be joining Lehigh Valley as an Assistant Coach with former @MaineIceHockey great Ben Guite taking over as the Mariners new Head Coach! An official announcement coming soon! pic.twitter.com/Q9fYcoJWf8
— Dave Eid (@DaveEidWGME) July 29, 2021
The only coach in Mariners history had the team bidding for the franchise’s first Kelly Cup playoff berth at the COVID stoppage in 2020, with the Mariners not playing last season.
Eid reports that former University of Maine hockey coach Ben Guite will take over behind the bench. Guite comes in with plenty of coaching experience, having worked as an assistant or associate head coach for the Black Bears for the last seven seasons. He also played 145 games in the NHL, with three organizations.
Miss the Qualifying Offer List?
If you missed the complete qualifying offer list, don’t worry, our friends at the ECHL have you covered: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2021/7/echl-announces-players-with-qualifying-offers
There was an uptick in the number of players announcing their intentions to play overseas in the upcoming season. Here’s the list we have as of early Thursday morning:
|Date||Player||ECHL Team||European Team|
|July 22||Zach Osburn||Kansas City Mavericks||Ritten/Renon|
|July 22||Alan Lyszczarczyk||Fort Wayne Komets||HC Frydek-Mistek|
|July 23||Jake Hildebrand||Florida Everblades||Lowen Frankfurt|
|July 24||Matt Lane||Tulsa Oilers||Nottingham Panthers|
|July 26||Shane Starrett||Wheeling Nailers||Glasgow Clan|
|July 26||Scott Conway||Allen Americans||Belfast Giants|
|July 26||Aaron Thow||Wheeling Nailers||HKM Zvolen|
|July 27||Mikael Tam||Rapid City Rush||Kunlun Red Star|
|July 27||Nick Saracino||Jacksonville Icemen||HKM Zvolen|
|July 27||Reece Willcox||Florida Everblades||HC Pustertal|
|July 28||Alex Rauter||Indy Fuel||Kristinstads IK|
Keep Up with the Latest Signings
Free agency has been open for about three weeks, and so far, there have been quite a few signings, primarily among teams who did not play in 2020-21. We’ll are starting to see the pace of signings pick up.
Find the most complete list of player signings, hit up our Transactions page: https://fieldpasshockey.com/2021-echl-transactions/.
Three Periods Podcast
From the shameless plug department, join Matthew Will and me for the rekindling of the Three Periods Podcast, tonight at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT on the Field Pass Hockey Facebook page (go ahead and smash the like and follow buttons while you’re there). We have a good show lined up, including catching you up on the big stories from the ECHL since the end of the season, a conversation with David Fine of the Iowa Heartlanders, and which of the minor league hockey markets would make up our version of the SEC.
We may also work some overtime, too.
Our plan for the podcast through the rest of the summer is to have one each month, then have weekly shows during the season airing every Thursday night at 8 pm ET. We will aim to have a guest for each show, and some thought-provoking discussion. We hope you join us!
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