With the official start of the hockey season upon us thought it would be a good idea to go over some of the ECHL roster rules, Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) changes and other changes for the upcoming season as well as a few items of general interest.

During the off-season, each team can sign up to 30 players for training camp.  The 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 14th (3:00 p.m. ET).

You can see a list of the league’s other critical dates, by visiting: http://thesinbin.net/echl-announces-critical-dates-for-upcoming-season.

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.)

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 2015-16 salary cap is $12,400 per week per team. For the first 30 days of the season, due to the added roster spot explained above, the cap is $12,830 per week per team. So the average player salary is just over $600 per week with a few elite veteran players making over $1000 per week.

Here is some of the weekly salary information from the CBA.
$520 – Maximum rookie salary (rookie is fewer than 25 professional games)
$430 – Minimum rookie salary
$480 – 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. Some meals are provided by the teams, and players are also paid a daily meal allowance while on the road. (The 2015-16 road trip “per diem” allowance is $40 per day, up from $39 last season.)

When a player is sent down 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 number, that salary 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 is a great help from a salary cap standpoint.

NEW DIVISION ALIGNMENT:

EASTERN CONFERENCE:
North Division – Brampton, Kalamazoo, Toledo, Wheeling
East Division – Adirondack, Elmira, Manchester, Norfolk, Reading
South Division – Atlanta, Florida, Greenville, Orlando, South Carolina

WESTERN CONFERENCE:
Midwest Division – Cincinnati, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indy, Quad City
Central Division – Allen, Missouri, Tulsa, Wichita
West Division – Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Rapid City, Utah

How teams qualify for the playoffs has changed. The division winners in each conference will be seeded 1, 2 and 3 and the next five highest point totals in each conference will qualify for the playoffs. All series will be best of seven and the conference champions meet in the Kelly Cup final. There will be two referees for all playoff games during the 2016 playoffs.

OTHER CHANGES:

– Overtime will be five minutes, three on three sudden death. If neither team scores in the overtime the shootout will be now have just three shooters. The “spin-o-rama” has been eliminated from the shootout.

– The distance of the hash marks on the end zone face-off circles has been increase to 5′ 7″.

– The number of player salary changes a team can submit is no longer unlimited as it was last season.

– ECHL teams are now limited to one AHL affiliation. You can get a complete list of the teams and their affiliates at http://thesinbin.net/affiliations/, but below are some of the highlights.

– The Ontario Reign have moved to Manchester, NH and are named the Manchester Monarchs.

– The Bakersfield Condors have moved to Norfolk, VA and are named the Norfolk Admirals.

– The Stockton Thunder have moved to Glens Falls, NY and are named the Adirondack Thunder.

– The Gwinnett Gladiators have changed their name to the Atlanta Gladiators.

– The Greenville Road Warriors have changed their name to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits.

DID YOU KNOW: The Greenville Swamp Rabbits franchise started in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and was one of the original five ECHL franchises when the league was formed in 1988. The Johnstown Chiefs was the last of the five founding ECHL teams playing under the original name and in its original city. The Chiefs relocated to Greenville following the completion of the 2010 ECHL season.

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