ALLEN, TX – With the official start of the hockey season upon us, I thought it would be a good idea to go over some of the ECHL roster rules, collective bargaining agreement (CBA) rules and other changes for the upcoming season as well as a few items of general interest. There is nothing new in this post as you can find this information elsewhere, but we get many questions about these topics so I have tried to put a lot of information in one place.

– During the off-season, each team can sign up to 30 players for training camp. Training camp rosters are due to the league office this Thursday, September 29 (3:00 p.m. ET).  The training camp rosters must be trimmed down and officially submitted for the start of the regular season by the opening day roster deadline, which is Wednesday, October 12th (3:00 p.m. ET).

– During the season, each team can maintain an active roster of 20 players, with 18 (16 skaters and two goalies) dressing for each game. (The active roster maximum is 21 for the first 30 days of the regular season.) Teams can place up to two additional players on a reserve list, and an unlimited number of players on 21-day injured reserve.

– The “veteran limit” is four skaters on the active roster at any time, with goaltenders exempted. A “veteran” is defined as a player who has played 260 or more regular season professional games at the start of the season. Any AA or above league in North America counts toward the 260 games along with top leagues in Europe from the following countries: Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia & Switzerland. Note the limit is four veterans on the “active” roster so a team could carry more than four veterans and rotate them on and off the reserve list.

Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA):

– The salary cap and player salary rules are outlined in the ECHL’s CBA with the Professional Hockey Players’ Association (PHPA), which is a 5-year contract that began with the 2013-14 season and is valid through the end of the 2017-18 season.

– The 2016-17 salary cap is $12,600 per week per team. That is $200 more per week than last season. For the first 30 days of the season, due to the added roster spot explained above, the cap is $13,045 per week. So if a team has a full roster of 20 players the average player salary is $630 per week with a few elite veteran players making over $1000 per week.

– The CBA also has a minimum weekly salary which this season is $9,500.

– Here is some of the weekly salary information from the CBA.
$530 – Maximum rookie salary (rookie is a player with fewer than 25 professional games)
$445 – Minimum rookie salary
$500 – Minimum salary for all other players

– Housing and health insurance are provided by the teams. Married players get their own apartment while single players share. If you were wondering what must be provided with the apartments, here is the wording from the CBA. “Furnished apartments shall include paid electricity, water, sewer, gas, trash, and, at the Member’s (Team’s) option, may include basic cable, local phone service, and/or internet service. At a minimum, furnishings shall include: in the bedroom, bed and dresser; in the living room, couch and chair; in the kitchen, table and chairs, refrigerator and stove; and adequate lighting in all rooms, and may include, at the Member’s option, a television.”

– Some meals are provided by the teams, and players are also paid a daily meal allowance while on the road. The 2016-17 road trip “per diem” allowance is $42 per day, up from $40 last season.

– When a player is sent to the ECHL by an NHL or AHL team, the player is still paid his NHL/AHL contracted salary while assigned to the ECHL. Whatever the salary, it is paid by the team to whom the player is contracted. The ECHL team then reimburses the NHL/AHL team $525 per week and all the player is charged against the salary cap is the $525. This is why getting a player assigned from the NHL/AHL is a great help from a salary cap standpoint.

RULE CHANGES:

– The major rule change for the upcoming season relates to icing. A team is no longer permitted to call a time-out after being whistled for an icing violation. Along with this rule change a point of emphasis will be teams trying to delay/stall after an icing call. Look for delay of game penalties being called when this happens.

NEW DIVISION ALIGNMENTS:

Eastern Conference


North Division:
 Adirondack Thunder, Brampton Beast, Elmira Jackals, Manchester Monarchs, Reading Royals, Wheeling Nailers

South Division: 

Atlanta Gladiators, Cincinnati Cyclones, Florida Everblades, Greenville Swamp Rabbits, Norfolk Admirals, Orlando Solar Bears, South Carolina Stingrays
Western Conference

Central Division
: Fort Wayne Komets, Indy Fuel, Kalamazoo Wings, Quad City Mallards, Toledo Walleye, Tulsa Oilers, Wichita Thunder
Mountain Division
: Alaska Aces, Allen Americans, Colorado Eagles, Idaho Steelheads, Missouri Mavericks, Rapid City Rush, Utah Grizzlies

ECHL CRITICAL DATES: In case you missed them the other day on The Sin Bin, here are the critical dates for the coming season: 

SEPTEMBER 2016
29 – Training Camp Rosters due to League Office (3 p.m. ET)
30 – Training Camp opens (Members may begin on-ice sessions)

OCTOBER 2016
12 – Opening-Day Rosters due to League Office (3 p.m. ET)
14 – 29th ECHL regular season begins

NOVEMBER 2016
1 – Deadline for submission of ECHL Hall of Fame candidates
13 – Active Rosters cut down from 21 to 20 (3 p.m. ET)

DECEMBER 2016
22 – Christmas Waiver/Trade Freeze begins (5 p.m. ET)
24-26 – Christmas Break (no games or practices)
27 – Christmas Waiver/Trade Freeze ends (Noon ET)

JANUARY 2017
18 – CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic (Glens Falls, N.Y.)
20 – Jersey Reversal Date

FEBRUARY 2017
15 – Overseas Deadline (3 p.m. ET)

MARCH 2017
8 – Recall/Reassignment Deadline (11:59 p.m. local time)
9 – ECHL Trade Deadline (3 p.m. ET)

APRIL 2017
7 – Last day to place a Player on Waivers (5 p.m. ET)
8 – Last day of 2016-17 ECHL regular season
10 – Kelly Cup Playoffs rosters due (3 p.m. ET)
12 – 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs begin

JUNE 2017
1 – Protected Lists due (3 p.m. ET)
13 – Future Considerations Trade Deadline (3 p.m. ET)
15 – Season-Ending Rosters due (3 p.m. ET)
16 – First day to sign Players for the 2017-18 season
30 – Qualifying Offers due to Players for the 2017-18 season (11:59 p.m. ET)

DID YOU KNOW: Teams are required to provide equipment to the players and the CBA spells out when players get new skates. Here is the exact wording from the CBA about equipment:

“It is the responsibility of the Member to provide each Player with all equipment, including skates, necessary and appropriate for professional hockey. Equipment must be fit for its intended use at a professional level and provide for the safety and well being of each Player. Equipment must be timely replaced as necessary so as to insure this provision is fully implemented.  Notwithstanding the above, Players who have been on an Active Roster or Injured Reserve for sixty (60) or more days during the Season, with the majority of time being spent on the Active Roster, who have not yet received a pair of skates, are entitled to at least one pair of skates provided by the Member”.

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