Flyers add minor-league team in Reading


The Flyers announced a two-year affiliation Wednesday with the Reading Royals of the ECHL.

That will give the Flyers an all-Pennsylvania minor-league system for the first time since 1997-98 when their prospects played for the Philadelphia Phantoms and Johnstown Chiefs.

“We’re excited to be entering a new era for the Flyers with respect to player development, and look forward to working closely with them in a winning environment," Flyers GM Ron Hextall said.

The geographic proximity to the affiliates "will give our coaches and scouting department the best possible platform to monitor, and promote the growth and advancement of our young prospects," Hextall said.

The Royals are headed into their 14th season in Reading. Prior to moving there, the franchise was based in Columbus, Ohio and played as the Columbus Chill from 1991-99 before making way for the incarnation of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Reading won the ECHL’s Kelly Cup championship in 2013 and has qualified for the post-season nine times, including the last five years.

The ECHL is the top AA-level hockey league in the United States, and has been in existence since 1988-89.  A total of 541 players have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL.