We'll file this one under HOLY CRAP THERE'S FLYERS NEWS IN EARLY JUNE.
The Flyers announced today that they'll affiliate with the ECHL's Reading Royals for the next two years. The team affiliated with the Greenville Road Warriors last season, sharing the partnership with the New York Rangers. It was less than ideal, and the affiliation wound up falling apart shortly after the season began.
"We are pleased to announce an ECHL affiliation agreement with the Reading Royals," said Flyers general manager Ron Hextall in a press release. "We're excited to be entering a new era for the Flyers with respect to player development and look forward to working closely with them in a winning environment. The geographic proximity of our minor league affiliations in the Lehigh Valley and Reading will give our coaches and scouting department the best possible platform to monitor, and promote the growth and advancement of our young prospects."
That came after two seasons under an affiliation agreement with the Trenton Titans, who ultimately last summer and still owe lots of people and lots of charitable organizations lots of money. Before Trenton, the Flyers used the Mississippi Sea Wolves as their ECHL affiliate before that team also went out of business. The ECHL is a rough place.
Reading, however, is a great fit. They're a successful ECHL franchise that's been in Reading, Pa. since 2000, when they moved from Columbus, Ohio after the Blue Jackets moved in. They've been the affiliate of the Washington Capitals in recent years, and in the past were home to the ECHL prospects of several teams before that, including Los Angeles, Boston and Toronto. Leafs goalie James Reimer and Kings goalie Jonathan Quick have both played for the Royals.
With the Adirondack Phantoms on the move to the Lehigh Valley for this upcoming 2014-15 season, the entire organization now calls Pennsylvania home. Both Reading and Allentown are about 75 minutes via car from Philadelphia.