With Christmas coming tomorrow, there is still time for us to share with you our wishlist for all of minor pro hockey. Before we go on, we at The Sin Bin want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a safe New Year’s.
These are not in any particular order. Now, here are our Christmas wishes:
California AHL Teams Play More Outside California
The schedule for AHL West teams seems eerily similar to the ECHL’s Central Division last season, where all seven teams largely played in-division until the playoffs. We think the AHL will expand this schedule for the teams next season.
Two Referee System (ECHL & SPHL)
While the ECHL has done a good job of implementing the two-referee system in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, there is still work to be done. There have been several instances in the ECHL and SPHL so far this season which could have been lessened had there been the two-referee system in place. If minor pro hockey is a place for players to develop and grow, then the same should apply to officials. It will take time and shared resources between all three leagues and USA Hockey, but this should be done.
Video Goal Review (ECHL & SPHL)
With most arenas now getting upgraded video boards, especially in the ECHL, it is time for video review to be implemented league wide. It will take longer for the SPHL due to the age of some buildings in the league’s footprint. The ECHL should also look at ending the rule on replaying controversial calls for the fans in the arena.
ECHL Vet Rule Expanded to 300 Games and Five Players
Now that the dust has settled in the CHL/ECHL “consolidation” business, the vet rule should be expanded to 300 games and five players, but this will not come until the next round of CBA negotiations between the PHPA and ECHL in three years. Too many good hockey players uprooted their lives and gave up on their dreams when the consolidation happened almost 16 months ago. Players should take a stand and fight for the next generation of minor pro hockey players.
20-Man Rosters in SPHL
Currently, SPHL rosters comprise of 16 skaters and two goaltenders. By adding two additional players, this would provide teams with roster flexibility who come up on injury issues and call-ups to the ECHL. The league does not have a big player pool to grab players from, so expanding the roster makes sense.
Five-Game Playoff Series in SPHL
The SPHL staff should be commended for working hard to eliminate some of the gongshow-iness (yep, I just made that word up) that plagued the league in its early years. But, it will never fully shed that stigma unless they go to a playoff format that supports atleast five-game playoff series. In my interview earlier this summer with Jim Combs, he cited building availability as a reason for the three-game playoff series. If teams provide dates for the seven or eight months a season goes on, this would not be an issue. Hopefully, with the SPHL working closer with their ECHL and AHL brethren, this issue will go away fairly soon.
Uniform Ticket Prices
If minor pro hockey is billed as “affordable family entertainment,” then why fleece a family of four out of $100 to come to your game, expect them to buy concessions and maybe even come back? With attendance slumping in the ECHL, it would make sense to try a uniform ticket price program in some of the markets with poor attendance.
You Get Everything You Wish For
We hope your husband, wife, brothers, sisters, children and neighbors give you everything you want, including the Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model, for Christmas.
Thank you for making us your source for minor pro hockey information. It has been an honor to bring you information, views and interviews. We have a big 2016 planned and we hope you are along for the ride.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!