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Greenville
City Greenville, South Carolina
League ECHL
Conference American
Division South
Founded 2010
Home arena BI-LO Center
General manager TBA
Head coach TBA
Franchise history
1988 to 2009 Johnstown Chiefs
2010 to future Greenville

The Greenville ECHL team will be a professional ice hockey team located in Greenville, South Carolina. The team will be a member of the ECHL and will play their home games at the BI-LO Center in downtown Greenville.[1] The franchise had previously played as the Johnstown Chiefs from the ECHL's inception in 1988 until the team's relocation in 2010. This will be the second ECHL franchise to play in Greenville, as the city hosted the Greenville Grrrowl from 1998 until 2006.[2]

Contents

Greenville Grrrowl

Greenville's first ECHL franchise were the Greenville Grrrowl who were awarded expansion rights in 1998 along with the Florida Everblades in Estero, Florida and played their home games at the BI-LO Center. The Grrrowl would finish their inaugural season in last place in the Southeast Division, with a record of 26-33-11.

The following season saw great improvement by the Grrrowl on the ice, finishing with the third best record in the Southern Conference and reaching the Southern Conference Finals, before losing to the Louisiana IceGators, 4 games to 2. The Grrrowl would see checkered success throughout their time in the ECHL, bouncing in and out of the playoffs before winning their first and only Kelly Cup during the 2001-02 season, sweeping the Dayton Bombers in the finals in four games.

Despite some success on the ice, the Grrrowl continually faced problems with attendance, losing around 1,000 fans per game per season. The Grrrowl would fold following the 2005-06 season, after running a $1,000,000 deficit during 2005 that left the team unable to attract new investors.[3] In June 2006 the BI-LO Center announced they were willing to pay $350,000 to keep the team afloat, hoping to entice developers to save the team.[4] However, the Grrrowl failed to find new sources of financing and the ECHL revoked the team's franchise rights.[3]

Franchise history

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Johnstown Chiefs (1988-2010)

The Johnstown Chiefs were one of five franchises that founded the East Coast Hockey League in 1988. Johnstown's initial owners had wanted to name the team the Jets in reference of a previous franchise that had played in various leagues from 1950 until 1977. However, the original Johnstown Jets owners owned the name and refused to allow the ECHL franchise to use it. The owners of the ECHL franchise instead decided to name the team the Chiefs in reference to the Charlestown Chiefs from the ice hockey movie Slap Shot which was filmed in Johnstown.

The Chiefs played their home games at Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown for all 22 of their season in the ECHL. In the inaugural season of the team and the ECHL, Johnstown finished second in the regular season standings and were the runner-ups in the inaugural Riley Cup finals, losing to the Winston-Salem Thunderbirds 4 games to 3. Although the Chiefs had played in the ECHL for 22 seasons, the had never won a division, conference, Brabham Cup or Riley/Kelly Cup title. Throughout Johnstown's history, the club had affiliation agreements with the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild and Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Chiefs would flounder for several years as the owners of the team tried to find local ownership for the team, but failed. After losing a reported $100,000 per year and facing an expensive rent posted by the War Memorial Arena's new owners, the Chiefs started to listen to offers to relocate the team.

Relocation to Greenville

On February 13, 2010, the Tribune-Democrat reported that television reports from Greenville stated that the Chiefs would be relocated to Greenville following the 2009-10 season and compete at the BI-LO Center.[1] Two days later the Tribune-Democrat confirmed previous reports that the Johnstown Chiefs would relocate to Greenville, pending approval by Greenville's arena board and the ECHL's Board of Governors.[2] On February 15, 2010, the Greenville Arena District Board announced that they had agreed to a five-year deal to bring the Johnstown Chiefs to Greenville's BI-LO Center.[5]

References

External links


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