Reading Royals

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Posted by r2d2 04/10/2009 @ 07:12

Tags : reading royals, echl, hockey, sports

News headlines
Davies earns new Royals deal - SkySports
Royals director of football Nick Hammond has been impressed with Davies' displays during his time with the League Two club. Reading are due to appoint a new manager following Steve Coppell's resignation with Davies now having the chance to shine under...
Reading - Ten things you should know about the Royals -
Reading are nicknamed the Royals due to their location in the Royal County of Berkshire. The lion seen on the club's crest is an image of Reading's most famous landmark- the Maiwand Lion. 2. When the club was first formed in 1871 one of the original...
May 26: Cardinals' Hitting Slump is Historic - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
As always, thanks for reading: 1. THE MISSING OFFENSE: Watching Monday's loss at Milwaukee, you got the feeling that the Cardinals could have played another 10 innings without scoring a run. The offense is absolutely futile right now....
Dead London teenager had a Royals trial - Reading Evening Post
A teenager who died over the weekend from a stab wound in East London was a talented footballer who tried out for Reading FC. Jamhal Mason-Blair bled to death in the early hours of Saturday morning in Hackney. The 17-year-old had also attended trials...
AP Photo/Tony Dejak - ESPN
Justin Verlander mowed down the Royals on Monday, fanning eight over seven shutout innings. If he were doing this to start the season, we'd call him Zach Greinke, but has anyone noticed the Tigers right-hander is 5-0 in his past six starts with a...
Royals start afresh - Yahoo! Eurosport
Reading chief executive Nigel Howe is looking forward to appointing a "fresh face with fresh ideas" following the departure of former manager Steve Coppell. Coppell left his post in the wake of the Royals' play-off semi final defeat to Burnley last...
Sodje on verge of Reading exit - Clubcall
Reading defender Sam Sodje is set to tie up a free transfer move to Bristol City after being told he can leave the Madejski Stadium. The Nigerian-born defender, who turned 30 yesterday, appears to have no future with the Royals and is close to agreeing...
'I couldn't bring myself to watch the Championship play-off' - Reading Evening Post
How different it would have been had Reading managed to beat Burnley in the semi-final. The Royals' two previous trips to Wembley and one to Cardiff have been amazing events with the build up gripping the whole town before 40000 Reading fans suddenly...
More departures after Coppell - Clubcall
First-team coaches Kevin Dillon and Wally Downes have followed manager Steve Coppell out of Reading. Royals chairman John Madejski has confirmed the duo's contracts will not be renewed next season in the wake of Coppell's decision to resign following...
Bikey charged by FA - SkySports
As a result of the red card Bikey missed the Royals' 2-0 defeat in the second leg at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday and will subsequently miss the first three games of the next season, although the centre-half has since apologised to Royals fans for...

Reading Royals


The Reading Royals are a professional ECHL ice hockey team located in Reading, Pennsylvania, USA. The team in the North Division of the ECHL's American Conference. The Royals play in the Sovereign Center located in Downtown Reading and their colors are purple, black, and silver. Since 2001, the Royals have ranked among ECHL leaders in regular season attendance. On March 25, 2006 against the Trenton Titans, the Royals reached their one millionth fan in attendance. The Royals main rival is cross-state opponent Johnstown Chiefs. Lately, they have been in a rivalry with the Elmira Jackals. Reading hosted it's second ECHL All-Star Game in 2009.

The current Reading Royals franchise was formed in 1991 as the expansion franchise Columbus Chill. David Paitson was team's first President/General Manager and former NHL player Terry Ruskowski, the head coach, started the team with a goal of introducing new audiences to the sport of ice hockey and building a strong fan base. The two were successful with the help of an extensive marketing plan. The Chill's 83-game sellout streak beginning in early January 1992 still stands as a minor league hockey record today. It would take the team two seasons to reach the playoffs, doing so in 1994 under coach Ruskowski. The Chill would go on to win two conference championships and make the playoffs for five of the eight seasons.

The Chill were a key part of the growth of hockey in Columbus, Ohio and paved the way for the NHL expansion Columbus Blue Jackets. The 1998-99 season would be the franchise's final season as the team was voluntarily suspended to be moved to Reading, Pennsylvania to make room for the Jackets.

The move created big changes for the franchise, In 2001 the franchise returned to active status in the ECHL with a new name and colors, the Reading Royals became the ECHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings/Manchester Monarchs. The team's first entrance into the Kelly Cup Playoffs came in 2004 while in their third season, when they won the North Division Championship under head coach Derek Clancey. Then during the next season, they became the North Division Regular Season Champions, only to lose to the eventual Kelly Cup Champion, Trenton Titans in the North Division Finals.

Under coach Karl Taylor, the Royals had generally mediocre performance in regular season and post-season play. For three seasons straight, the Royals were unable to play past the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

2007-2008 was another story. Skaters Dany Roussin and Brock Hooton enjoyed some fame in Reading due to their "goal-a-game" nature for much of the season, while tough-guys Steven Later and Malcolm MacMillian were among league leaders in penalty minutes. After a strong finish to a warlike regular season, Taylor led the team to the North Division Finals where their tour ended in a heated 7-game battle with the unstoppable Cincinnati Cyclones. The Cyclones continued on to sweep past other teams to win the cup, but the Royals were the only team to take them to seven games in the playoffs.

Some better-known players to come out the Reading Royals organization include Los Angeles Kings goaltenders Barry Brust and Jon Quick, goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji, Phoenix Coyotes winger Ryan Flinn, and Anaheim Ducks winger George Parros, who was the first Royal to appear in the Stanley Cup finals. Veteran Larry "The Legend" Courville and former head coach Derek Clancey have also contributed to the Royals organization.

The 2007-2008 season would be Karl Taylor's last with the Royals organization. In late June 2008, General Manager Gordon Kaye announced that Taylor will leave Reading to serve as coach for the new Ontario Reign of the ECHL for 08-09. The Royals were left without a coach, and had not yet announced any prospects.

In a press conference on July 9, 2008, the Royals organization announced that they are now the primary ECHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the secondary ECHL affiliate for the Los Angeles Kings for the 2008-2009 season. The Royals continue to wear their majestic colors of purple, black, and silver.

The Sovereign Center and the city of Reading, Pennsylvania are also the hosts of the 2009 All-Star Game and Skills Challenge for the ECHL. During this exciting upcoming season, as an affiliate of a team with great history, the Royals plan to highlight the rich tradition of hockey in Reading - as well as Toronto, an Original Six team.

On July 24, 2008, Reading announced that Jason Nobili will be head coach for the 2008-2009 season. Unfortunately, Nobili was unable to coax much from the team and was dismissed by Kaye on January 6, 2009, with the team mired in last place overall in the ECHL. Larry Courville was named as interim coach for the remainder of the season.

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ECHL logo

The ECHL (formerly the East Coast Hockey League) is a mid-level professional ice hockey league based in Princeton, New Jersey, with teams scattered across the United States and Canada, generally regarded as a tier below the American Hockey League. The ECHL's official website lists the league as "The Premier AA" league of hockey in North America, because most teams serve as feeder teams for American Hockey League teams. Hockey generally does not use letter-designations to define their league's levels, but the ECHL has tried for years to establish such a pecking order, with some success.

The ECHL, along with the AHL, are the only minor leagues recognized by the collective bargaining agreement between the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association, meaning that any player that is signed to an entry-level NHL contract and is designated for assignment, must report to a club either in the AHL or the ECHL.

The league, which combined teams from the defunct Atlantic Coast Hockey League and All-American Hockey League, began play as the East Coast Hockey League in 1988 with 5 teams, the Carolina Thunderbirds (now the Wheeling Nailers), the Erie Panthers (now the Victoria Salmon Kings), the Johnstown Chiefs, the Knoxville Cherokees (the franchise, as the Pee Dee Pride, is currently suspended, to resume play in Conway, South Carolina in 2009-10), and the Virginia Lancers (now the Utah Grizzlies).

Since that time, the ECHL has met with a mixture of failures and successes, reaching its largest size in 2003 of 31 teams before being reduced to 28 teams for the 2004 season. In September 2002, the West Coast Hockey League ceased operations, and the ECHL Board of Governors approved membership applications from the Anchorage (now Alaska) Aces, the Bakersfield Condors, the Fresno Falcons, the Idaho Steelheads, the Las Vegas Wranglers, the Long Beach Ice Dogs and the San Diego Gulls as well as from teams in Ontario, California and Reno, Nevada. Alaska, Bakersfield, Fresno, Idaho, Las Vegas, Long Beach and San Diego began play in the 2003-04 season as expansion teams.

The teams from the defunct lower-level WCHL, along with Las Vegas, joined as expansion teams for the ECHL’s 16th season in 2003-04. In a change reflective of the nationwide presence of the ECHL, the East Coast Hockey League changed its name to simply ECHL on May 19, 2003.

The league, because of geographical anomalies, continues to use unbalanced conferences and divisions, which has in the past made for some extremely varied playoff formats and limited interconference play. Due to travel costs, the league has attempted to placate owners in keeping those costs down, which has led to the sometimes-odd playoff structures. The league currently (as of 2008) consists of nine West Coast-based teams in the National Conference, and twelve eastern, midwestern and southern teams in the American Conference.

In the past four years, the ECHL has attempted to be more tech-friendly to its fans. Some improvements on the league's website have included a new schedule and statistics engine powered by League Stat, Inc. (introduced in 2006), internet radio coverage for most teams, and pay-per view broadcasting of ECHL games through B2 Networks. In 2008, the league introduced the ECHL toolbar for internet browsers which gave users short cut access to statistics, scores, transactions, and news updates.

One team is scheduled to relocate for the 2009-10 season and two which were previously under suspension will return with new home arenas.

Teams that no longer play within the ECHL are listed below. Many of the former teams which had not moved are considered to have suspended operations and the franchises placed for sale, but in reality are and were simply financial failures, similar to defunct teams in all other minor league sports histories.

While the ECHL stated in recent years they would not grant voluntary suspensions of franchises for more than one year, both the Toledo Storm and Mississippi Sea Wolves have had two-year suspensions -- the Sea Wolves because of Hurricane Katrina and the Storm in order to demolish their present arena and construct a new arena on the site. The new owners of the Toledo franchise, the businessmen who own the area AAA-baseball team the Toledo Mud Hens, have stated they will choose a new name for the team. Toledo Arena Sports General Manager Joe Napoli and Toledo Arena Sports President Mike Miller unveiled the new name on February 20, 2008. The Mississippi Sea Wolves resumed play for the 2007-2008 season, while the Toledo Walleye will return to play for the 2009-2010 season.

On March 30, 2009, the Dayton Bombers and Mississippi Sea Wolves will suspend operations for the 2009-10 season, while the Phoenix Roadrunners announced that they will cease operations at the end of the 2008-09 season.

In celebration of the league's 20th year of play, the ECHL Board of Governors created the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2008, to recognize the achievements of players, coaches, and personnel who dedicated their careers to the league. Hall of Fame members are selected in four categories: Player, Developmental Player, Builder, and Referee/Linesman. Players must have concluded their career as an active player for a minimum of three playing seasons, though not continuous or full seasons. Development Players must have begun their career in the ECHL and went on to a distinguished career in the NHL, playing a minimum of 260 regular season games in the NHL, AHL and ECHL. Builders may be active or inactive whereas Referee/Linesman must have concluded their active officiating career for a minimum of three playing seasons.

No more than five candidates are elected to the Hall of Fame each year with no more than three Players, one Developmental Player, two Builders and one Referee/Linesman. The Builder and the Referee/Linesman categories are dependent upon the number of candidates in the Player category.

The nomination and subsequent selection of candidates is determined by the ECHL Hall of Fame Selection Committee which is appointed by the ECHL.

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2007–08 ECHL season

The 2007-08 ECHL season was the 20th season of the ECHL.

Two teams suspended operations at the end of the 2006-07 season, the Long Beach Ice Dogs and the Toledo Storm. Toledo's suspension was granted after the International League baseball franchise Toledo Mud Hens acquired the Storm and requested a suspension of the team for two years in order to allow a new arena to be built in downtown Toledo to open in 2009, when the team returns to play.

The league officially welcomed back the Mississippi Sea Wolves, who had to suspend operations for two seasons (2005-07) because of damage to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum caused by Hurricane Katrina. The Elmira Jackals also joined the ECHL after being in the United Hockey League for their previous existence. Another established team, the Trenton, New Jersey franchise, will enter its ninth season with a new name. The team, now owned by the NHL New Jersey Devils, will adopt the Devils nickname, which is now standard across the team's farm system.

Before the start of the season, the league announced that it would hand out a new award to honor on-ice referees for their dedication and contribution to the league, through the Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award. The award is given in honor of Ryan Birmingham a former ECHL referee who died in an automobile accident, while driving from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Snellville, Georgia in May 2007. Birmingham died at the age of 24.

The Cincinnati Cyclones finished first overall in the regular season winning the Brabham Cup, and became the third team in ECHL history to win the Brabham Cup and Kelly Cup in the same year by defeating the Las Vegas Wranglers four games to two.

The ECHL announced the alignment of the 25 teams of the ECHL.

The ECHL realigned the playoff format for the two conferences.

The top eight teams will advance to the playoffs, with the two division champions being the first and second seeds. The other six teams will be seeded by points. Teams will not be re-seeded. All games are best of seven games.

In the North Division, the top five teams will advance to the playoffs, with the division champion being the first seed. The other teams will be seeded by points. The fourth seed and the fifth seed will play a best-of-three series in the Division Quarterfinals. The winner will advance to the best-of-seven Division Semifinals to meet the division leader. The second seed and the third seed will play a best-of-seven Division Semifinals. The winners will advance to the best-of-seven Division Finals. The winner will advance to the American Conference Finals.

In the South Division,the top eight teams will advance to the playoffs, with the division champion being the first seed. The other teams will be seeded by points. Teams will be re-seeded according to the same criteria with division leader seeded first and remaining teams seeded in order of regular-season points. All games are best of five games. The winner of the Division Finals will advance to the American Conference Finals.

The Kelly Cup finals will be a best-of-seven series between the two conference champions.

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2008–09 ECHL season

The 2008-09 ECHL season will be the 21st of the ECHL. The league is expected to welcome one new franchise, the Ontario Reign, which will relocate from Beaumont, Texas and will play at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, CA. Two teams, the Columbia Inferno and the Myrtle Beach Thunderboltz, will voluntary suspend operations for the season with plans on returning in the 2009-10 season. The Myrtle Beach franchise were originally planning to return to operations, but their home arena had not been completed in time for the Board of Governors Meeting during the All-Star Break. The league announced that they were immediately terminating the Pensacola Ice Pilots franchise, because the team's owners did not intend on fielding a team for the 2008-09 season or any season after that. The team was a founding member of the ECHL as the Nashville Knights and moved to Pensacola, Florida after the 1995-96 season.

The league also saw the return of the Fresno Falcons to Selland Arena, after the team spent its first five seasons in the ECHL at the Save Mart Center on the campus of California State University, Fresno campus. However, this was short-lived, as Fresno joined the Augusta Lynx in suspending operations during the month of December.

On June 23, the ECHL announced the new divisional alignment of its 23 franchises. The league saw three teams vacate the South Division of the American Conference shrinking the division from nine to six teams and added a franchise to the Pacific Division of the National Conference increasing the division total from four teams to five. There will be thirteen teams in the American Conference, which stretches from New York south to Florida and from Mississippi east to New Jersey, and ten teams in the National Conference which stretches from Alaska south to Arizona.

On December 2, the Augusta Lynx suspended operations and voluntarily relinquished their membership to the league, in effect becoming the first team in the league's 21-year history to suspend midseason. Lynx owners stated that financial troubles and failed attempts to find additional investors were causes for the team to suspend operations. Dan Troutman, one of the team's owners, stated that he had asked the league to take over operations so the team could finish the season, but the move was voted down by the league's Board of Governors. The owners had also stated that attendance issues, in which Augusta has ranked no higher than 20th in the league the past three seasons, as the major reason for their financial problems as the team was successful in sponsorship issues.

On December 22, the Fresno Falcons became the second team in twenty days to cease operations, as the league's Board of Governors voted unanimously to terminate the franchise after Fresno's ownership notifying the league that they were unable to continue the membership for financial reasons. Fresno Hockey Club, LLC., the team's ownership group, cited "overwhelming financial issues due to declining attendance and dwindling corporate sponsorships" as reasons the team did not continue to operate for the 2008-09 season. This move comes less than a year after the team signed a 20-year lease with Selland Arena (starting with the 2008-09 season) and an agreement with the city of Fresno in which the city invested $5 million into upgrades for hockey at Selland Arena, as long as the team would not be sold or moved without the direct approval from the city. A clause in the agreement, stated that the city could take over the team as a government agency if owners were unable to continue operations; however, the option was declined after it was determined that the hockey club would finish the season $500,000 under expenses. City officials have expressed interest in bringing the franchise back as early as the 2009-10 season, although ECHL Commissioner was less enthusiastic stating that "a great deal of damage had been done" and that the league would give a new ownership "nine to ten months of lead time to create a solid foundation." At the time of their folding, the Falcons were in first place of the Pacific Division and had the fifth best record in the ECHL.

The ECHL All-Star Game was played in Reading, Pennsylvania on January 21, 2009. The host club was the Reading Royals. The American Conference defeated the National Conference 11-5, with Matthew Ford of Charlotte and Florida's Kevin Baker both scoring hat tricks to over come a 3-1 deficit after the 1st Period.

On June 23, the league announced its new playoff format for the 2008-09 season. The playoffs would feature a total of sixteen teams (eight from each conference) and four rounds of play. The top four finishers in each division will be seeded based on regular season point totals. The Division Semifinals will have the first seed meeting the fourth seed and the second seed meeting the third seed in a best-of-seven series. The winners of the Division Semifinals will advance to the Division Finals which is a best-of-seven series. The Division Finals winners will advance to the Conference Finals which is a best-of-seven series. The winner of the American Conference and the winner of the National Conference will meet in the Kelly Cup Finals, a best-of-seven game series. Home-ice advantage will be determined by regular season points. This format is similar to that used by the American Hockey League for the Calder Cup playoffs.

At the Mid-Season Board of Governors Meeting in Reading, PA, during All-Star Game. two changes were announced for the playoff format due to Augusta and Fresno folding mid-season. In the National Conference, instead of the top four teams in each division making the playoffs, the top eight teams (of the nine in the conference) will make the playoffs; the fourth seed in the Pacific Division playoffs will be determined by the team with the better record between 4th place in the Pacific Division and 5th place in the Western Division. All seeding in the National Conference and in the American Conference's Southern Division will use percentage of points won because of an unbalanced number of games played caused by rescheduling (Points divided by Games, then divided by two).

All-ECHL Teams Bryan Ewing and Jean Philippe Lamoureux were named to both All-ECHL and ECHL All-Rookie Teams.

ECHL All-Rookie Team The Wheeling Nailers set a league record with four rookies being named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team, surpassing the previous record of two which had occurred on six separate occasions.

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Nick Niedert

Nick Niedert (born June 16, 1982 in Hudson, Iowa) is an American professional ice hockey goaltender formerly of the Reading Royals of the ECHL. He currently plays for the Jersey Rockhoppers.

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Larry Courville

Larry Courville (born April 2, 1975 in Timmins, Ontario) was a professional ice hockey player who spent parts of three seasons in the National Hockey League. He currently serves as interim head coach of the Reading Royals of the ECHL.

Courville was originally drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the 5th round (119th overall) of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. He had an excellent final OHL season in 1994–95 in which he scored 73 points and was a key component of Canada's gold medal-winning team at the 1995 World Junior Championships, but was unable to come to contract terms with Winnipeg. As a result, he re-entered the draft and was selected 61st overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1995 NHL draft.

Courville had a fine first professional season the following year with Vancouver AHL affiliate in Syracuse, scoring 49 points and earning a 3-game callup to the Canucks, where he scored his first NHL goal. Over the next two seasons, he would continue to be a frequent callup, seeing 30 more games in the NHL with Vancouver. However, he struggled to produce recording just 2 assists.

After spending four seasons in the Canuck organization, Courville was released in 1999 and signed with the San Jose Sharks. Courville's grit and leadership proved a valuable asset to the Sharks' farm team in Kentucky, but he failed to see any action with the Sharks in two seasons with the organization.

Since leaving the San Jose organization, Courville has played in the lower minor leagues. He was possibly the biggest name player in the short-lived North Eastern Hockey League, playing for the York IceCats in the 2003–04 season. After spending three seasons with the Reading Royals, Courville retired.

He was named interim head coach for the Royals on January 6th, 2009, replacing Jason Nobili.

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Source : Wikipedia