Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Is The ECHL Better Than The CHL

While I am on vacation (will return February 18) posting some of what I call "Best Of Allen Americans Blog" that maybe you missed when first posted or might enjoy rereading. This one was originally posted April 26, 2013 when rumors were hot and heavy about Rapid City & Allen moving to the ECHL. I'm sure similar rumors will resurface as the dialogue about teams folding, expansion and law suits heat up toward the end of the season. Here it is:

With rumors becoming more and prevalent (all unsubstantiated) that Allen will be making the switch to the ECHL next season let's look at the difference between the two leagues. I have had many conversations and read many comments comparing the CHL and the ECHL over the years as the rumors surface every season. Justin Bowers, when he left Allen after the first year for Greenville of the ECHL, said he felt the players were just as good in the CHL put he would get scouted more in the ECHL. Colton Yellow Horn who left Allen this year to play for the Ontario Reign is a good example of how great CHL players will be great ECHL players. Yellow Horn finished second in the ECHL in goals scored (36) even though he was called up to the AHL in early February and only played in 48 of 72 games in the ECHL season.  I have heard from several coaches that the top lines in the CHL and ECHL are comparable but the ECHL has more depth. Because of its stronger ties to the NHL, the ECHL is stocked with players typically younger and faster than those in the CHL, though they may be less polished. ECHL teams are allowed only four veteran players of 260 or more games, and goalies can’t be veterans. In the CHL, not including goalies, teams could dress six veterans of 301 or more games.

I came across the article below that was recently published by the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel
 (news-setinel.com) written by Blake Sebring that poses the CHL/ECHL question to the Fort Wayne Komets who just completed their first year in the ECHL after winning the CHL President's Cup last year. It is a unique perspective from players that can actually compare what they went through the last two years. I certainly don't agree with the comments about the ECHL is where you play when you want to go to the next level. Maybe Allen is unique in that we have had many players get opportunities in the AHL but there is obviously a feeling that more promotion opportunities exist in the ECHL than you get with the typical CHL team.

How do Komets compare ECHL to CHL now?

Players believe ECHL had better goaltending, speed

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 8:36 am

Throughout last summer, the Fort Wayne Komets talked about their belief that Class AA minor league hockey was the same caliber and quality no matter which league it was played in.
How do the players feel after their first season in the ECHL? How would this Komets team have fared in the Central Hockey League where Fort Wayne won the championship last spring?
``I believe this league is a little bit better because the goaltending is better and the depth, but I still believe AA is AA,'' center Brett Smith said at the Komets' season-ending party and jersey auction Tuesday night. ``The hockey isn't a whole lot different, but the depth is a little bit better. In the CHL the style of game is a little bit more controlled, while this is quicker.''
Maybe that's because there are more younger players in the ECHL and more veterans in the CHL.
``I think the goaltending is better and guys work a little bit harder every night in the ECHL,'' forward Kaleigh Schrock said. ``When you have the chance to go to the next level, there's more incentive to work harder every night. It's still AA hockey, but the goaltending is better and the players are a little bit hungrier and the speed is better. In the CHL, it was slower and more about controlling the puck, and the ECHL was a lot more like college hockey and run and gun.''
Most of the players said they didn't think this Komets team, which didn't make the ECHL playoffs, would have fared any better in the CHL this season.
``We had a lot of young guys who had a lot to learn,'' center J.M. Rizk said. ``I don't think you can really compare this year to last year's teams with all the veterans we had last year.''
Thomas Beauregard, whose Wichita team the Komets beat in last year's President Cup Finals in the CHL, also didn't think this team would have had a much better record this year in the CHL.
``It was just a bad year in general, just a year you want to forget,'' Beauregard said.
Charlie Effinger also played against the Komets in the playoffs last year with Missouri. He and the Mavericks fought the Komets through seven games in the semifinals.
``I know last year's team that we played against was a good team,'' Effinger said. ``That group really bought in, and you could sense it when we played against them. They were all on the same page.
``There was a lot of good players here this year. Were they healthy? Not always.
Did they get called up and down? We struggled to put it together, and I don't know how that would have translated to the Central League. It just didn't come together like we'd have liked it to.''
Maybe the biggest difference between the leagues is in the definition.
``I think AA hockey is AA hockey, but there's youth and speed in this league and the CHL is more veterans and established players who have played well in this league already and maybe have moved on in their careers,'' defenseman Jamie Milam said. ``I feel like anybody who plays in the CHL can play in this league, but this is just the developmental league so you get younger players. The reason you play in the coast is to go to the next level, and in the CHL you are there to play in one place.''

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