...online about a potential ECHL-CHL merger being announced Wednesday. There's a report that team owners from both leagues were meeting in St. Louis. Some reports say it's going to happen, and others say talks are dead.
I think it could happen for several reasons:
1. It's been way too quiet among all the owners. If this wasn't serious, someone would have denied it by now. No one has. It's also interesting that several people in both leagues who almost always call back did not on Tuesday. Guess they would prefer not to lie or even get asked the question.
2. Something similar is likely going to happen anyway, even if it doesn't happen this year. The way things have been going in the CHL, the ECHL could just sit back and let the leftovers come to them after this season.
3. It makes more sense to do it now, especially if many of the West Coast teams in the ECHL are going to join the AHL after next season to become NHL farm clubs.
4. Though it's going to cost money for clubs to redo their pocket schedules, I don't think it's going to be too late to make up another schedule. In fact, I'll bet they've already got one done.
5. It would make those lawsuits between the two leagues where the CHL is accusing the ECHL of tampering disappear.
If they do join/merge/whatever with the ECHL, those CHL clubs will struggle this season since they don't have many, if any, NHL affiliations. This is going to be all about struggling through this season to get to the future.
I also hope the ECHL finds a way to hire some excellent people from the CHL like Bob Hoffman, Jim Wiley, Cheryl Illes, Wayne Bonney and Ray Scapinello. I don't know much about CHL Commissioner Steve Ryan, but he has a first-rate staff.
Then again, all of the talks could fall apart.