Norfolk, Glens Falls, and Manchester get ECHL teams

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The Edmonton Oilers announced today that they’re moving their ECHL affiliate from Bakersfield, Calif., to Norfolk, Va.

“We are very excited to open a new chapter with our ECHL team moving to Norfolk, a city with a deep history for the game,” said Oilers president of hockey ops Kevin Lowe.

Norfolk, of course, will be without an AHL team next season; the Anaheim Ducks bought the franchise and are moving it to San Diego to play in the new Pacific Division.

Glens Falls, which similarly lost its AHL franchise to the Pacific Division, will also get an ECHL franchise, with the Stockton Thunder (Calgary Flames) heading east.

Ditto for Manchester, N.H., which will get the ECHL’s Ontario Reign (Los Angeles Kings).

“These transfers represent a major move by the ECHL and a significant transformation of the minor league hockey landscape,” league commissioner Brian McKenna said in a release.

“While we are exiting some strong, traditional ECHL markets in California, the move is in the best, long-term interest of hockey and will allow for better alignment in the development system.”

Oklahoma City and Worcester, Mass., meanwhile, may both be without hockey next season after they lost their AHL teams.