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2019-20 ECHL Fan Guide

This is a guide to help ECHL fans become familiar with the critical dates during the 2019-20 season and answer some of the frequently asked questions.

September 2019

26 – Players may report to Training Camp
27 – Opening Day for ECHL Training Camps

October 2019

9 – Opening Night rosters due into ECHL offices by 3 pm ET
12 – 32nd ECHL Regular Season begins

November 2019

1 – Deadline for submission of ECHL Hall of Fame candidates
10 – Active rosters must be trimmed down from 21 to 20 by 3 pm ET

December 2019

22 – Christmas waiver/trade freeze begins at 3 pm ET
23-25 – Christmas break (no games or practices)
26 – Christmas waiver/trade freeze ends at Noon ET

January 2020

22 – ECHL All-Star Classic in Wichita, Kansas
24 – Jersey reversal date

February 2020

15 – Overseas Deadline at 3 pm ET

March 2020

4 – Recall/Reassignment deadline at 11:59 pm local time
5 – ECHL Trade Deadline at 3 pm ET

April 2020

3 – Last day to place a player on waivers (must be done by 5 pm ET)
5 – Last day of 2018-19 ECHL Regular Season
6 – Kelly Cup Playoff rosters due by 3 pm ET
8 – Opening night of the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs

June 2020

1 – Protected Lists due by 3 pm ET
12 – Future Consideration trades must be done by 3 pm ET
15 – Season-ending rosters due by 3 pm ET
16 – Opening day of the 2019 free agency period
30 – Qualifying offers due to players for the 2019-20 season by 11:59 pm ET

For the 2019-20 season, the ECHL lost the Manchester Monarchs, but did not gain any new teams.

The change has led to the following conference and divisional alignment for the season (teams are listed alphabetically):

Eastern Conference

North Division

Adirondack Thunder
Brampton Beast
Maine Mariners
Newfoundland Growlers  
Reading Royals
Worcester Railers

South Division

Atlanta Gladiators
Florida Everblades
Greenville Swamp Rabbits
Jacksonville Icemen
Norfolk Admirals
Orlando Solar Bears
South Carolina Stingrays

Western Conference

Central Division

Cincinnati Cyclones
Fort Wayne Komets
Indy Fuel
Kalamazoo Wings
Toledo Walleye
Wheeling Nailers

Mountain Division

Allen Americans
Idaho Steelheads
Kansas City Mavericks
Rapid City Rush
Tulsa Oilers
Utah Grizzlies
Wichita Thunder

Here is a list of regular season champions in the ECHL, and the success they have had in the Riley/Kelly Cup playoffs. Winners are highlighted in BOLD GREEN:

SeasonWinnerStandings PointsPlayoff Result
1988-89Erie Panthers89Lost in semifinals
1989-90Winston-Salem Thunderbirds82Lost in Riley Cup Finals
1990-91Knoxville Cherokees97Lost in division semifinals
1991-92Toledo Storm95Lost in division first round
1992-93Wheeling Thunderbirds88Lost in Riley Cup Finals
1993-94Knoxville Cherokees94Lost in first round
1994-95Wheeling Thunderbirds97Lost in first round
1995-96Richmond Renegades105Lost in Riley Cup Quarterfinals
1996-97South Carolina Stingrays100WON KELLY CUP
1997-98Louisiana IceGators96Lost in Kelly Cup Semifinals
1998-99Pee Dee Pride106Lost in Conference Finals
1999-2000Florida Everblades108Lost in Conference Quarterfinals
2000-01Trenton Titans104Lost in Kelly Cup Finals
2001-02Louisiana IceGators116Lost in Division Semifinals
2002-03Toledo Storm104Lost in Division Finals
2003-04San Diego Gulls108Lost in Division Semifinals
2004-05Pensacola Ice Pilots107Lost in Conference Quarterfinals
2005-06Alaska Aces113WON KELLY CUP
2006-07Las Vegas Wranglers106Lost in Conference Semifinals
2007-08Cincinnati Cyclones115WON KELLY CUP
2008-09Florida Everblades103Lost in Division Finals
2009-10Idaho Steelheads103Lost in Kelly Cup Finals
2010-11Alaska Aces97WON KELLY CUP
2011-12Alaska Aces97Lost in Conference Finals
2012-13Alaska Aces106Lost in Conference Semifinals
2013-14Alaska Aces97WON KELLY CUP
2014-15Toledo Walleye107Lost Conference Finals
2015-16Missouri Mavericks109Lost in Conference Semifinals
2016-17Toledo Walleye106Lost in Conference Finals
2017-18Florida Everblades112Lost in Kelly Cup Finals
2018-19Cincinnati Cyclones110Lost in Division Finals

Here is a list of the regular season and playoff Most Valuable Award winners in ECHL history:

SeasonRegular Season MVPTeamPlayoff MVPTeam
1988-89Daryl HarpeErie PanthersNick VitucciCarolina Thunderbirds
1989-90Bill McDougallErie PanthersWade FlahertyGreensboro Monarchs
1990-91Stan DruliaKnoxville CherokeesDave Flanagan and Dave GagnonHampton Roads Admirals
1991-92Phil BergerGreensboro MonarchsMark BernardHampton Roads Admirals
1992-93Trevor JobeNashville KnightsRick JudsonToledo Storm
1993-94Joe FlanaganBirmingham BullsDave GagnonToledo Storm
1994-95Vadim SlivchenkoWheeling ThunderbirdsBlaine MooreRichmond Renegades
1995-96 Hugo BelangerNashville KnightsNick VitucciCharlotte Checkers
1996-97 Mike RossSouth Carolina StingraysJason FitzsimmonsSouth Carolina Stingrays
1997-98 Jamey HicksBirmingham BullsSebastien CharpentierHampton Roads Admirals
1998-99 Chris ValicevicLouisiana IceGatorsTravis ScottMississippi Sea Wolves
1999-2000 Andrew WilliamsonToledo StormJason Christie and J.F. BoutinPeoria Rivermen
2000-01 Scott KingCharlotte CheckersDave SeitzSouth Carolina Stingrays
2001-02 Frederic CloutierLouisiana IceGatorsSimon Gamache and Tyrone GarnerGreenville Grrrowl
2002-03Buddy SmithArkansas RiverBladesKevin ColleyAtlantic City Boardwalk Bullies
2003-04 Scott StirlingAtlantic City Boardwalk BulliesDan EllisIdaho Steelheads
2004-05Scott GomezAlaska AcesLeon HaywardTrenton Devils
2005-06 Jeff CampbellGwinnett GladiatorsMike ScottAlaska Aces
2006-07 Brad SchellGwinnett GladiatorsSteve SilverthornIdaho Steelheads
2007-08 David DesharnaisCincinnati CyclonesCedrick DesjardinsCincinnati Cyclones
2008-09 Kevin BakerFlorida EverbladesJames ReimerSouth Carolina Stingrays
2009-10 Tyler DonatiElmira JackalsJeremy Smith and Robert MayerCincinnati Cyclones
2010-11 Wes GoldieAlaska AcesScott HowesAlaska Aces 
2011-12 Chad CostelloColorado EaglesJohn MuseFlorida Everblades
2012-13 Ryan ZapolskiSouth Carolina StingraysRiley GillReading Royals
2013-14 Mickey LangOrlando Solar BearsRob MadoreCincinnati Cyclones
2014-15Jeff JakaitisSouth Carolina StingraysGreger HansonAllen Americans
2015-16 Chad CostelloAllen AmericansChad CostelloAllen Americans
2016-17 Chad CostelloAllen AmericansMatt RegisterColorado Eagles
2017-18 Shawn SzydlowskiFort Wayne KometsMichael JolyColorado Eagles
2018-19Jesse SchultzCincinnati CyclonesZach O’BrienNewfoundland Growlers

The format for the 2020 Kelly Cup playoffs will remain the same as it has for the last several years. The top-four teams from each division will make up the 16-team field.  Seedings are determined based off standings points and any tiebreaker procedures that may be required.

The winner of the Brabham Cup, symbolic of the league’s regular season champion, will have home-ice in every playoff series as long as they are playing. Each playoff series is a best-of-seven.

Here is how the format will look:

Division Semifinals

#1 seed vs. #4 seed
#2 seed vs. #3 seed

Division Finals

Highest remaining divisional seed vs. lowest remaining divisional seed

Conference Finals

Winners of Division Finals series

Kelly Cup Finals

Eastern Conference champion vs. Western Conference champion

Here is how the ECHL breaks ties in the standings:

If two teams tie:

1. Wins, regular season (excluding shootout wins)
2. Goal differential
3. Points, head-to-head (for two teams that have not played the same number of home games against the other tied team, the first game(s) played in the city that has the extra home game(s) shall not be included)
4. Winning percentage, division (if tied teams are from same division; if not, skip to 5)
5. Winning percentage, conference
6. Goals for, regular season
7. Goals against, regular season
8. Coin toss

If three or more teams tie:

Note: When two teams remain after the third or other teams are eliminated during any step below, the tiebreaker reverts to Step 1 of the two-team format.

1. Wins, regular season (excluding shootout wins)
2. Goal differential
3. Higher winning percentage earned in games against each other (for two teams that have not played the same number of home games against the other tied team, the first game(s) played in the city that has the extra home game(s) shall not be included)
4. Winning percentage, division
5. Winning percentage, conference
6. Goals for, regular season
7. Goals against, regular season
8. Coin toss


Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the salary cap within the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the ECHL and the Professional Hockey Players Association (PHPA). The CBA was agreed to in May 2018 and will run for five years, expiring June 30, 2023.

Salary Cap

First 30 days of season (due to one extra roster slot):

  1. 2019/20- $13,780 US
  2. 2020/21- $14,090 US
  3. 2021/22- $14,400 US
  4. 2022/23- $14,610 US

Rest of Season:

  1. 2019/20- $13,300 US
  2. 2020/21- $13,600 US
  3. 2021/22- $13,900 US
  4. 2022/23- $14,100 US

Rookie Salary Cap

The Rookie Salary Cap is the maximum weekly allowable salary for a player who has played fewer than 25 regular season professional games. The amounts are as follows:

  1. 2019/20- $560 US
  2. 2020/21- $575 US
  3. 2021/22- $585 US
  4. 2022/23- $600 US

Salary Floor

This is the minimum total salary paid by teams to players who are on the active roster:

  1. 2019-20: $10,100 US
  2. 2020-21: $10,350 US
  3. 2021-22: $10,600 US
  4. 2022-23: $10,750 US

Weekly Salary Floor

There are weekly salary minimums for teams to meet. For rookies, those with 25 games or less of pro experience, the figures are:

  1. 2019-20: $480 US
  2. 2020-21: $490 US
  3. 2021-22: $500 US
  4. 2022-23: $510 US

For all other players, including veterans:

  1. 2019-20: $520 US
  2. 2020-21: $530 US
  3. 2021-22: $545 US
  4. 2022-23: $555 US

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding playing rosters within the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the ECHL and the Professional Hockey Players Association (PHPA). The CBA was agreed to in May 2018 and will run for five years, expiring June 30, 2023.

Roster Limit

ECHL teams can carry a maximum of 20 players (21 for the first 30 days of the regular season) on their active roster (not counting players on reserve or injured reserve).

How Many Players Can Dress for Each Game?

Teams may dress a maximum of eighteen (18) players for each regular season and playoff game, of which two (2) must be goaltenders. No team can play with only one designated goaltender on the lineup card.

Injured Reserve

ECHL teams can have an unlimited number of players on the 14-day injured reserve. Teams cannot count the date of the game in which the player was injured as the first day of his IR. Once placed on the injured reserve, the player must remain on the IR for a minimum of 14 days. Players on injured reserve may not skate in any pregame warm-up.


A veteran is a player, excluding a goaltender, who has played in 260 professional regular season games. Each team is allowed to have four (4) veterans on their playing roster. Games from the following leagues (in alphabetical order by country) count toward the total:

Czech Extraliga (Czech Republic)
Lilga (Finland)
DEL (Germany)
Kontinental Hockey League (Russia)
Swedish Elite League (Sweden)
National League (Switzerland)
American Hockey League (United States)
Central Hockey League (Defunct – United States)
ECHL (United States)
National Hockey League (United States)

Player/Assistant Coaches

Each team may designate one player as the Player/Assistant Coach during the season, but there will be no additional compensation or benefits except as provided in the CBA.


A player is deemed a rookie if he has played less than 25 games as a professional.

Protected Lists

Each ECHL team can protect as many players as they want, provided they meet designated criteria as agreed to by the ECHL & Professional Hockey Players Association (PHPA):

1. Signed a standard player contract (SPC) in 2019-20 with a team, and has not been traded or released, OR

2. Signed an SPC in 2019-20, and was recalled to the NHL/AHL or IIHF team, and has not been traded or released, OR

3. Had received a qualifying offer last summer for the current season, DID NOT sign an SPC, and has not been traded or released, OR

4. Has been suspended by the team or league, and has not been traded or released, OR

5. Signed an SPC on or after the first day of the 2019-20 regular season, then subsequently signed an NHL/AHL contract, and has not been traded or released, OR

6. Has executed the ECHL Retirement Form, and has not been traded or released.

Protected Lists often exceed 20 players.

Season-Ending Rosters and Qualifying Offers

This list has a cap of 20 players and cannot include players who did not sign an ECHL contract in 2019-20. From this list, coaches will select eight players to give qualifying offers to. Those must be done by June 30.

Of the eight qualified players, no more than four can be veterans (260 regular season professional hockey games played as of the start of the 2019-20 season). Players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded. Teams are not required to extend a qualifying offer to players who sign a contract prior to June 30.

The qualifying offer must remain open for acceptance until July 16 at which time the qualifying offer becomes null and void and the team may sign the qualified player to any salary or may elect to take no further action. Teams that extend a valid qualifying offer to a non-veteran player shall retain the rights to that qualified player for one playing season.

A team that extends a valid qualifying offer to a veteran player, or to a goaltender who has played more than 180 regular-season games, will retain the rights to that player until July 16. After July 16, if the veteran player or goaltender is not signed to a contract by the team, the veteran or goaltender shall be deemed a restricted free agent and shall be entitled to seek and secure offers of employment from other ECHL teams.

If a restricted free agent is not signed to either an offer sheet or a contract by an ECHL team by August 1, the player shall be declared an unrestricted free agent.

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