Boise, ID (6/20/17)— The ECHL has officially announced divisional and conference realignment for the 2017-18 season, a change that will bring two new members to the Mountain Division while two members from last year’s division will not return.
The Steelheads will be joined in the Mountain Division by the Wichita Thunder and the Tulsa Oilers, both of whom played in the Central Division for each of the past two seasons. The Mountain Division will lose the Alaska Aces, who ceased operations at the end of last season, and the Kansas City Mavericks, who return to the Central Division after one year removed. This is the fourth consecutive season that the Steelheads’ division has experienced realignment.
The seven-team Mountain Division now includes the following teams: Idaho Steelheads, Colorado Eagles, Allen Americans, Utah Grizzlies, Rapid City Rush, Wichita Thunder, and Tulsa Oilers.
The remaining divisions are constructed as follows:
Central Division (Western Conference): Cincinnati Cyclones; Fort Wayne Komets; Indy Fuel; Kansas City Mavericks; Kalamazoo Wings; Quad City Mallards; Toledo Walleye
North Division (Eastern Conference): Adirondack Thunder; Brampton Beast; Manchester Monarchs; Reading Royals; Wheeling Nailers; Worcester Railers
South Division (Eastern Conference): Atlanta Gladiators; Florida Everblades; Greenville Swamp Rabbits; Jacksonville IceMen; Norfolk Admirals; Orlando Solar Bears; South Carolina Stingrays
The new alignment brings the Cincinnati Cyclones back to the Western Conference after one year removed. The expansion Worcester Railers join the North Division as the only newcomers, taking the place of the Elmira Jackals who ceased operations last April. The reinstated IceMen in their new home in Jacksonville will fill the vacancy in the South Division made by Cincinnati’s move west.
The Steelheads’ schedule now lists 60 divisional games for next season. The Steelheads have faced the Oilers seven times in their history, all coming in the last two seasons. The Steelheads have gone 5-2-0 against Tulsa, taking both meetings last year at BOK Center. The only two meetings between the Steelheads and Thunder came two seasons ago in Wichita, where the Steelheads went 1-0-1. The Thunder will make their first ever appearance at CenturyLink Arena on December 15th, while the Oilers will roll into Boise on November 29th for their first visit since January 15, 2016.