The Philadelphia Flyers and the ECHL’s Reading Royals have renewed their affiliation agreement with a multi-year extension, the teams announced Sunday. Their original agreement was signed in June of 2014.
Under the agreement, Flyers prospects destined for the AHL and NHL clubs will be loaned to the Royals when placed in the ECHL.
“We are pleased to extend and continue our relationship with the Royals,” Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said. “Reading has created a long-term culture of success and has provided our prospects a positive environment that is important in the development of their careers. The geographic proximity of our minor league affiliations in Lehigh Valley and Reading gives our coaches and scouting department the best possible platform to evaluate and promote the advancement of our prospects within the Flyers system.”
The Royals are in their 16th season of operation in Reading and have qualified for the playoffs in their last seven consecutive seasons. They’ve made the postseason in 11 of those 16 seasons in total.
“We’re very excited to extend our affiliation relationship with the Flyers,” said Royals President Drew Bell in a statement. “We believe that the philosophy, culture and goals of the Royals and Flyers are consistent with one another — an unwavering dedication to excellence in all phases of our operations and ultimately, of course, winning hockey games. There is no question that the relationship with the Flyers has paid positive dividends for the Royals over the past two seasons, and we anticipate that our position within the Flyers’ player development pipeline is only going to get stronger over the next several seasons. We look forward to this opportunity to expand our role in the effort to develop young prospects and grow the interest in and support for professional hockey in Southeast Pennsylvania.”
Prior to being affiliated with the Flyers, the team was connected with the Los Angeles Kings in a partnership that lasted from 2001 to 2008. After that, they picked up an affiliation with the Toronto Maple Leafs and briefly had a secondary association with the Boston Bruins. They were then connected to the Washington Capitals and Hersey Bears before signing the affiliation agreement with the Flyers prior to the 2014-15 season.
“I’m looking forward to continuing our working relationship with the Flyers,” said Royals’ Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Larry Courville. “There is no question that our team’s success is directly tied with that of our affiliate, and we believe that we have built a positive working arrangement with the Flyers over the last couple of years. We’re dedicated to continuing our effort to help young prospects pursue their goal of advancing to the highest level of the game, while engaging those same young players in our team’s goal to win another ECHL championship.”
The Royals will open the 2016-17 season against the Elmira Jackals on October 15.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.