As we start putting a bow on 2017 and looking forward to 2018, let’s look back at three stories we thought flew “under the radar” during 2017.

On Saturday, we will reveal the five biggest stories in the ECHL during 2017.

3. ECHL/Marvel Partnership

The ECHL ventured outside of the box and paired up with Marvel Comics to have Marvel superhero-themed jersey nights at every league venue this season.

“Marvel is thrilled to work with the ECHL to provide all of their fans and ours with a one-of-a-kind in-game experience by bringing together the power of the Marvel brand with the energy and excitement of professional hockey,” said Marvel Vice President, Digital Media & Marketing Solutions, Jonathan Parkhideh.

As part of this first-of-its-kind league-wide program, all ECHL-Marvel themed jerseys will be auctioned off to the public through The MeiGray Group at MeiGray.com.

2. ECHL Passes Major Milestone

Kyle McGhan was named the ECHL's 100 millionth fan in November
Kyle McGhan was named the ECHL’s 100 millionth fan in November. Photo Courtesy: ECHL

The ECHL welcomed their 100 millionth fan on November 10 in Kalamazoo, MI. ECHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst presented Kyle McGhan with a “100,000,000” nameplate adorning the back, as well as ECHL 30th Anniversary apparel, and a special League pass to attend any ECHL game in the 2017-18 Season, including the 2018 ECHL All-Star Classic in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Kalamazoo Wings also provided Kyle with special K-Wings apparel and tickets to their Green Ice game.

1. ECHL Puts Games on Facebook

The ECHL continued breaking new ground in 2017, by being the first North American hockey league to put their games live on Facebook. According to industry articles, Major League Soccer dipped their toes in the Facebook water first, by agreeing to put 22 of their broadcasts on Facebook this past season.

“We knew that we wanted to find a way via social media to bring ECHL Hockey, and the ECHL.TV Streaming service, to a larger audience,” Valerie Persinger, Director of Business Operations and New Media for the ECHL, told The Sin bin in an email. “We felt that Facebook’s platform, combined with its large community of engaged users, was the best fit for us to reach these goals.”

The first-ever ECHL.TV Showcase Game aired on Oct. 13, 2017 when the Allen Americans took on the Rapid City Rush. The ECHL.TV showcase games will feature 14 scheduled games of the 2017-18 regular season on select Friday nights to allow fans nationwide to catch each ECHL team in action over the course of the season.

“We’re getting tens of thousands of views on the ECHL.TV Showcase Games with many viewers tuning in for a substantially longer time than our average video tune in on Facebook,” Persinger said. “What is really encouraging is how the fans are engaged throughout the broadcast and interacting with the game feed and each other.”

The move to putting games on Facebook could be a game changer for the ECHL, as they strive to be in their fans’ pockets more now than ever before. This strategy has also had success with MLS & the WSL (World Surfing League).

Here is the ECHL.TV Showcase games for the remainder of the regular season:

Jan. 5 – Brampton at Reading

Jan. 19 – Idaho at Tulsa

Feb. 2 – Orlando at South Carolina

Feb. 16 – Kalamazoo at Quad City

Mar. 2 – Wheeling at Worcester

Mar. 16 – Indy at Cincinnati

Mar. 30 – Greenville at Florida

Apr. 6 – Wichita at Colorado

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