Good morning Toronto Maple Leafs fans!
News came down yesterday that there would be a league expansion next season in the ECHL.
Just a reminder that ECHL does not stand for East Coast Hockey League. It actually doesn't stand for anything which is one of the dumbest things in minor league hockey.
Bloomington, Indiana will be getting the newest ECHL team who will begin play in the 2024/25 season alongside fellow expansion team Tahoe Knight Monsters. The team will be owned by the same group that owns the ECHL Indy Fuel franchise.
This is the second go around in professional hockey for Bloomington as they had a franchise in the UHL / CHL / SPHL from 2006-2014.
Neither of these new teams have announced NHL affiliates yet, but the Tahoe Knight Monsters name and location gives away a probable relationship with the Vegas Golden Knights and the new Bloomington teams closest NHL teams are Chicago (Indy Fuel), Nashville (Atlanta Gladiators), and St. Louis (unaffiliated).
Not every NHL team works with an ECHL team. Four are not solely affiliated: Arizona, Carolina, Columbus, and St. Louis.
If Vegas does goes with Tahoe and St. Louis Bloomington, that will leave the Savannah Ghost Pirates without someone to work with, as they currently are aligned with Vegas. However as we play musical franchises, the rumor mill is churning with NHL to Atlanta talk again, and that has people bringing up a graduation for the Ghost Pirates to the AHL, as the natural assumption is one Georgie team aligns with another.
That didn't stick for the Carolina Hurricanes and Charlotte Checkers, a natural pair. Carolina broke up with the Checkers and are working with the Chicago Wolves. The Florida Panthers took over the Checkers.
So, welcome back Bloomington to the pro hockey world. Now the question is: Will you pick a new brand or recycle the old Prairie Thunder name?
Elsewhere in the hockey world....
The Leafs did a thing last night. The front page has it. If you are reading this I forgot to update with the recap.
But! I did remember to add this goal from Auston Matthews:
That is goal #333 for Matthews and he became number four on the Maple Leafs all time goals list.
He is 33 away from overtaking Dave Keon, and 88 away from breaking the Leafs all time goals scoring record of 420 by Mats Sundin.
Terry Ryan is everyone's favourite story this week and it's pretty awesome to see a guy get called to play a game on his birthday when he never expected to play professionally again.
The Golden Knights made a mid-season signing of their own.
Hey. They're stealing our bit.
6,000+ at last night's game in Laval.
The QMJHL Acadie-Bathurst Titan are for sale.
Finally, I have finally seen the Winnipeg Jets* mascot for myself and... Okay.
Enjoy your day everyone!