The ECHL’s Reading Royals went 36-26-10 this season as an affiliate of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers, finishing the year third in the East Division and tied for second in points for a playoff berth.
Now, they’ve learned that the farm club will spend another few years affiliated with the Metropolitan Division NHL club.
“We’re very excited to extend our affiliation relationship with the Flyers,” said Royals President Drew Bell, per an official release by the ECHL. “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.”
Founded in 1991, the Royals were initially the Columbus Chill – and while they relocated to Reading, Pennsylvania, the franchise holds the honor of being a large part of the growth of hockey in Ohio during its initial incarnation in the Midwestern state.
During its 15-year history, the club has taken home four division championships and one Kelly Cup (which is the ECHL championship), won in 2012-13 as an affiliate of the Washington Capitals. The club has been affiliated with the Flyers since 2014 – and now, they’ve earned the right to continue bringing what has been an increasingly positive performance and development system to the Flyers organization:
“We are pleased to extend and continue our relationship with the Royals,” said Flyers’ General Manager Ron Hextall. “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 will almost certainly continue to play under head coach Larry Courville, who has served as bench boss for the organization since getting promoted to the position mid-season in the 2008-09 campaign. Per Courville, the relationship between the two teams has been nothing but positive:
“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.”