The speculation is over, the Kalamazoo K-Wings in their newly minted East Coast Hockey League affiliation have joined forces with the San Jose Sharks and the Philadelphia Flyers. Practically this means they will be funneling players to and from Wrochester Sharks and the Philadelphia Phantoms both of the American Hockey League.
The move of K-Zoo from the IHL to the ECHL is great news for IceHog and Wolves fans, as it means the Gwinette Gladiators the shared farm team for the Wolves and Hogs will be a four hour drive away a couple of times a season. To those who have never been to Kalamazoo is is a lovely old barn of a stadium and easy to find off of the interstate. Three years ago it was the site of one of the best games I have ever witnessed in my life, game 6 of the 2007 Colonial Cup Championships a knock down drag out fight between the then United Hockey League K-Wings and the Rockford IceHogs. The game had everything, broken glass, a hole in the net, and to top it off a goalie fight! Welcome to the ECHL Wings and how soon does your schedule come out?
In other ECHL news the Toledo Storm which has been dormant for the last two years has been reactivated as the Toledo Walleyes. They are again affiliated with the Detroit Red Wings and through them the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. With the addition last year of the Cincinnati Cyclones the ECHL appears like the AHL to be on a westward march. On the surface this simply means more hockey within a tankful of gas. On a deeper level it means a shifting and changing at the very least of divisional lines for both leagues. Life in the minors, nothing more consistent than change.