On Wednesday, the City of Savannah is expected to announce details about the city’s new ECHL professional hockey team when Savannah Mayor Van Johnson will be hosting a press conference to welcome the newest ECHL hockey franchise to the Hostess City.
Reports say that representatives from the ECHL (East Coast Hockey League) will be in attendance as well as representatives from the group that will be managing the new Savannah arena, expected to be completed in 2022.
Yes, it’s a minor league team, but there is a lot of action and some very good hockey played in the ECHL.
There are teams in Atlanta (Gladiators), Charleston (South Carolina Stingrays), Orlando (Solar Bears) and Jacksonville (Icemen).
Reports say that the team’s presence in Savannah would cut down travel costs with 5 of the 7 teams in the South Division of the ECHL being within a 5 hour drive of each other. This would also help create a Georgia Rivalry with the Atlanta Gladiators, but could also create a close rivalry with the South Carolina Stingrays.
The ECHL is a mid-level professional ice hockey league based in Princeton, New Jersey, with teams scattered across the United States and two franchises in Canada. It is a tier below the American Hockey League.
According to the league’s website, the ECHL began in 1988-89 and there has been a total of 676 players who have went on to play in the NHL after starting their careers in the minor league.
Information has not been released as to which professional NHL team may be affiliated with the new Savannah franchise, or what the name of the team will be.